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Jordans’ $4M Gift Creates Center with Focus on Restoring Integrity in National News
A $4 million gift to the UM School of Journalism and New Media establishes the Jordan Center for Journalism Advocacy and Innovation Fund, named for its donors: Jean (left) and Jerry Jordan of Oxford, Mississippi.

A desire to improve the U.S. media environment while giving consumers the skills they need to better discern truth and accuracy in news reporting has led a former University of Mississippi faculty couple to make a $4 million gift to the UM School of Journalism and New Media.

The gift establishes the Jordan Center for Journalism Advocacy and Innovation Fund, named for its donors: Jean and Jerry Jordan of Oxford, Mississippi. The university has agreed to seek matching support of the Jordans’ gift, potentially creating total support of over $8 million for the fund.

Jean and Jerry Jordan

“We’re making this gift in honor of all the choral students we taught during our career at Ole Miss,” said Jerry Jordan, whose directing of the Ole Miss Concert Singers holds the record for winning more international competitions than any other choral director in the nation. “The Oxford community and the students we taught here had a tremendous effect on our lives, and we’re very happy to be giving back in the name of our students and to help the community the way it helped us.”

Hundreds of Ole Miss music graduates will remember the Jordans, who directed UM choirs for 21 years.

Throughout his career, Jordan has been concerned about the news, saying he’s “seen society being torn apart by misinformation” and has felt for many years that the media needs a renaissance.

“The Jordan Center’s purpose will be to proactively promote the preeminence and effectiveness of reliable, relevant, responsible and educational journalism in American media,” Jordan said, adding that a second purpose is to promote the role of journalists in educating citizens to think more critically as they consume news from today’s vast and disparate sources.

“It’s about making sure the consumer is getting accurate news and then is equipped to make discriminating use of that news,” added Jean Jordan.

Members of the Jordan family are (from left) Jenner, Jerry, Jean, Josh and Jake.

In recognition of the need to establish responsible and intelligent consumption of media, one of the center’s first projects will be a collaboration with both local school districts. With the additional offering of basic professional/business insights and skills not addressed in the standard curriculum, students are given a basis for responsible consumption and use of media in all areas of lifelong learning.

“The purpose of the project will be to help students in acquiring essential life skills and insights that are not addressed in traditional high school curricular requirements — practical skills they’ll use throughout their lives,” Jerry Jordan said.

Funds from the Jordans’ gift will be used by the School of Journalism and New Media to hire personnel to run the Center for Journalism Advocacy and Innovation and provide for its daily operations, summer programs and other projects.

“The value of journalism in society has been diminished of late, in part due to unsustainable business models and rhetorical branding. The establishment of the Jordan Center for Journalism Advocacy and Innovation is a bold initiative to re-center journalism as a public good, with the School of Journalism and New Media leading the way,” said Andrea Hickerson, dean and professor in the school.

“We look forward to creating innovative programs and projects that demonstrate the intensely practical value of journalism to healthy communities,” she said.

The Jordans announced their gift on the second day of the April 9-10 Giving Day event, an annual online, social media-driven fundraising campaign. The fifth Ole Miss Giving Day continued one day, eight hours and 48 minutes, in honor of the university’s founding year of 1848.

Born and raised in Talbotton, Georgia, Jerry Jordan graduated from Florida State University and earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in education with an emphasis in music at the University of Illinois. Jean Jordan grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, and earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees in vocal performance and education at the University of Illinois.

Now retired from teaching vocal music, the Jordans manage real estate and other investments and own and operate NetVoice, an answering service, time and temperature, and telephone banking business with roots in their college days.

Hickerson expressed gratitude for the donors’ vision.

“The importance of the Jordan family gift to the School of Journalism and New Media cannot be overstated. The Jordan family has pushed us to think big. It’s humbling and immensely gratifying,” the dean said.

“Although the center has journalism in the name, we see this center akin to an integrated marketing communications campaign for the practice of ethical, accurate and relevant journalism,” she continued. “The center speaks to the totality of expertise in the school.”

The Jordan Center for Journalism Advocacy and Innovation Fund is open to support from businesses and individuals. Gifts can be made by sending a check to the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the fund’s name noted on the memo line, to 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655, or by giving online at

For more information about supporting the School of Journalism and New Media, contact Jason McCormick, executive director of development, at or 662-915-1757.

By Bill Dabney/UM Foundation


Online gifts for the 2024 calendar year should be made no later than noon on December 31, 2024.  Checks by mail will need to be postmarked by December 31 to be counted in the 2024 calendar year.