Former Penn State president Bryce Jordan dies

President Bryce Jordan.
President Bryce Jordan.

Bryce Jordan, the fourteenth president at Penn State, died at 91.

Jordan’s wife, Barbara, a former Centre Daily Times reporter and editor, confirmed Wednesday that he passed quietly at home on Tuesday.

Jordan was a World War II veteran and dedicated his life to education and took office as president of Penn State in 1983. His tenure ended in 1990.

He told the Centre Daily Times in January that Penn State stood out due to the loyalty of its students and alum.

“I think it’s the deep and widespread loyalty shown by students, alumni and, indeed, by the general public, including those not associated in any direct way to the university,” he said. “This, I think, is largely because of the length of service Penn State has delivered to the commonwealth of Pennsylvania — academically and culturally, as well as in public service to agriculture, business and industry, education, athletics and a host of other areas.”

His favorite spot on campus, which he last visited about 10 years ago, was in the library.

“I often would go there to use reference materials or, since my field is musicology, to visit the music section,” Jordan told the CDT. “Sometimes just for recreation, I would read the shelves of sections of particular interest to me.”

He had tenures at Hardin-Simmons University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Maryland, the University of Kentucky and the University of Texas at Austin, sharing his love of music education at each stop over three decades.

He became vice president for student affairs at Austin from 1968 to 1970 and assumed the post of president at the University of Texas at Dallas a year later.

Jordan is known for having the Bryce Jordan Center named after him.

He also launched a campaign in 1986 with a goal of $200 million for endowment positions and scholarships. That goal was raised to $300 million a year later, which was achieved seven months ahead of schedule. He oversaw initiatives to help diversify the university and to lead economic development in Pennsylvania.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli