Howard University Board of Trustees announces its unanimous decision, upon the recommendation of President Wayne A. I. Frederick, to name the Law School Library as the Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., Esq. Law Library in honor of the proud and devoted Howard alumnus and Civil Rights icon.
“Vernon Jordan’s life embodied Howard’s motto of truth and service from his early beginnings as a lawyer to his work in the civil rights movement and later as an advisor to Presidents Reagan, Bush, Carter and most prominently as a friend and advisor to President Bill Clinton,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “Mr. Jordan is the kind of person who never met a stranger and who enjoyed mentoring students to help them succeed. He often told a story about spending his summers in college working as a chauffeur for Mr. Robert Maddox, a former Mayor and retired banker in Atlanta, GA, who owned a vast home library. Mr. Jordan spent his down time reading the books and when Maddox found out, he was shocked and begrudgingly gave him permission to continue reading. One night at the dinner table, Maddox proclaimed to his family, ‘Vernon can read!’ Mr. Jordan never forgot that experience and it became a pivotal moment in his vast narrative of triumph over controversy. Therefore, it is most fitting that we name one of Howard’s libraries in his honor.”
Mr. Jordan was senior managing director of Lazard Frères & Co. LLC in New York, where he worked with a diverse group of clients across a broad range of industries. Prior to joining Lazard, he was a senior executive partner with the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where he served as senior counsel. While there, he practiced general, corporate, legislative and international law in Washington, D.C and New York.
Before his tenure at Akin Gump, Mr. Jordan held the following positions: president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League, Inc.; executive director of the United Negro College Fund, Inc.; director of the Voter Education Project of the Southern Regional Council; attorney-consultant for the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity; assistant to the executive director of the Southern Regional Council; Georgia field director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and an attorney in private practices in Arkansas and Georgia. Mr. Jordan’s presidential appointments included: the President’s Advisory Committee for the Points of Light Initiative Foundation, the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on South Africa, the Advisory Council on Social Security; the Presidential Clemency Board, the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, the National Advisory Committee on Selective Service and the Council of the White House Conference entitled “To Fulfill These Rights.” In 1992, Mr. Jordan served as the chairman of the Clinton Presidential Transition Team. His corporate and other directorships included: American Express Company (senior advisor); Asbury Automotive Group, Inc.; Howard University (trustee emeritus); Lazard Ltd.; Xerox Corporation (senior advisor); and International Advisory Board of Barrick Gold.
Mr. Jordan was a graduate of DePauw University and the Howard University School of Law, and he holds honorary degrees from more than 60 colleges and universities in America. He was a member of the bars of Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Georgia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a member of the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Meetings.
Mr. Jordan authored the book, “Vernon Can Read! A Memoir” (Public Affairs, 2001) and “Make It Plain, Standing Up and Speaking Out” (Public Affairs, 2008). To make a contribution please visit: giving.howard.edu/jordanlibrary. # # #