Bison Philanthropy: One Howard Family’s Legacy of Scholarship, Giving


For many alumni, Howard University is a family affair. But one family has not only witnessed several members achieve the distinction of earning a Howard degree, they have created a legacy that will ensure that many more students get to follow in their footsteps.

The Artishia and Frederick Jordan Scholarship Fund has provided $700,000 in financial assistance to 64 Howard University students since 2011. The scholarship fund was founded in 1976 by African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Frederick D. Jordan at Morris Brown College in memory of his late wife, Artishia Wilkerson Jordan. When Morris Brown closed its doors in 2009, the Jordan Scholarship Board formed a partnership with Howard University, where both Frederick and Artishia attended in the 1920s.

Frederick completed his bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University. While at Howard, he was the treasurer of Howard’s first Student Council and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Artishia was active in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the French Club and the Howard chapter of the YWCA before graduating in 1922.

Frederick’s sister Alice also attended Howard in the 1930s. Since then, there has been a Jordan family member at Howard from 1961 through 2015, including sisters Patricia Jordan Cleveland Van Dyke (B.S. ’65), Jennifer Jordan (B.A. ’67; M.A. ’70), Jacqueline Jordan Irvine, (B.A. ’68; M.A. ’70) and Angela Jordan Davis (B.A. ’78). Jennifer Jordan taught for 40 years in Howard’s English Department.

The family has continued the scholarship in the memory of the bishop and One Howard Family’s Legacy of Scholarship, Giving his wife for students who display academic excellence, a passion for community service and involvement in religious life. The application process is managed through the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel. On March 4, eight students who received scholarships during the 2017-18 academic year were honored during the Chapel’s Sunday service.

“Each young scholarship recipient represents the qualities that the Bishop and Mrs. Jordan and all of us admire: hard work, academic excellence and most importantly a strong spiritual foundation dedicated to service to our community,” said Kelli Irvine Neptune, secretary and treasurer of the Jordan Scholarship Fund Board, during the presentation at the scholarship ceremony.

The scholarship is designed to provide students with support and assistance as they think critically about the intersection of faith, service to the community and academic excellence, said Jacqueline Jordan Irvine, current manager and former president of the board. “The only thing we ask in return is if they ever get in a position to help somebody else, do it and pass on the blessing that they’ve received,” she said.

For the students, “this program means opportunity,” said Yolanda Jean-Baptiste, a junior biology major and 2017-18 scholarship recipient. “It’s an opportunity for me to grow and stress less about finances and an opportunity to continue my education so one day I can give to someone else and return the favor.”

Denise Morris, a junior biology major, agreed, saying the scholarship “allowed me to continue my education when I didn’t think I was going to be able to come back to Howard due to financial reasons.”

The Jordan family not only plans to continue helping Howard students reach their educational goals, but they hope to inspire other alumni to do the same.

“Howard is a family of families,” said board member Dedra Owens (B.A. ’90). “If you have 10 family members who were alumni and each contributes $1,000 a year, at the end of the year you have $10,000 you can give to a Howard student. That can make a difference.”




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