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The Original Member of the Hawaiian Shirt Club

September 12, 2014

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I didn’t know Rob Jordan ’86, but the more I read about him the more certain I am that I would have sought him out at a Reunion had he not died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center 13 years ago. The many tributes to Rob since then reveal the kind of guy who looks impressive within the four corners of a resume, but all the more exceptional in person.

The 6-foot, 4-inch workhorse captained the Orange Coast College crew team before transferring to Cal-Berkeley at the beginning of his junior year. He rowed heavyweight for the Bears, majored in English and met his future wife, Elizabeth. Ten years later he had worked his way up to become a limited partner at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York.

I haven’t been able to find a picture of Rob where he’s not smiling, and the stories a few of his classmates shared yesterday place him within a long line of kindhearted and fun-loving Saints who breathed so much life into our hallowed halls.

Each year at graduation we present the Robert T. Jordan ’86 award to the IV Form boy and girl who display the qualities that made Rob so exceptional: a love of humanity, an appreciation of friendship, a willful perseverance and resolve amidst adversity and opportunity, a unique and refreshing perspective on life and all its possibilities.

Rob was also known for wearing Hawaiian shirts around campus, and his classmates often wear them at graduation to present the award. They’re the ones we’re all envious of as we move to loosen our ties.

If Rob were here today I would let him know about the group of students who recently decided that Saturday morning classes would be a bit livelier if they wore Hawaiian shirts. I’d hope my note would make him smile knowing that his spirit of fun and independence still runs strong at St. Andrew’s.

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