Bryce Jordan hired me from Princeton University Press, where I was editor-in-chief, to become the new director of Penn State University Press in 1989. As he told me in our interview, he wanted to enhance the reputation of the university in the liberal arts, where he had spent his own career, to better match the quality and visibility Penn State had in engineering and the sciences. He felt the Press could play a role in that effort.
His vision was right on target. When I arrived, the Press had won only four book prizes in its previous 33 years. By the time I retired in mid-2009, there were more than 100 book prizes the Press could boast about, including top awards from major scholarly societies. President Jordan gave us the mission; we carried it out. Several departments at Penn State credited the Press’ reputation in their fields with helping attract new faculty to the university.
After he retired to Austin, I put Jordan in touch with a former Princeton colleague who had since become director of the University of Texas Press, and he subsequently became the chair of its development committee, helping the Press there with fundraising and enhancing its own reputation.
I now live in North Texas where UT-Dallas, the campus he headed long ago when it was very small, has become a major research university, one of the jewels of the University of Texas System.
The legacy of Bryce Jordan remains in many different places.
Sanford G. Thatcher, Frisco, Texas