Q: When is a celebrity not a celebrity?
A: When the person in question is the former president of Gallaudet University.
I first met I. King Jordan, president of Gallaudet University, a few years after he had taken the helm following the success of the now historic "Deaf President Now" movement.
It was at a business-sponsored function. We did not speak with each other for very long. I had noticed that he was hungry and a bit stressed from everyone "wanting a piece" of Jordan. Therefore, I kept my introduction very brief, and left him alone.
Jordan was just a man with a job, but the importance and visibility of his position elevated him in status in the deaf community. I haven't seen any biographical books (particularly children's books) written about him yet, but undoubtedly there will be. There is no denying that he was an important role model for young deaf children, even though he did not grow up deaf. He was still someone who had attained the top position in his organization, and that alone sent a "can-do" message to deaf kids.
Some articles about King Jordan:
- "A Week In The Life" - Gallaudet Today, the alumni magazine of Gallaudet University, had in its Winter 1997-98 issue an article on a week in the life of King Jordan.
- Deaf Life magazine #1 July 1988 - The first issue of Deaf Life magazine had a cover story and interview with King Jordan.
- Great Deaf Americans is a book by Deaf Life Press with a chapter on King Jordan. (compare prices)
Jordan retired in the 2006-2007 academic year and was replaced by Dr. Robert Davila. For awhile, he was embroiled in a protest against his named original successor.