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Baptist Foundation board member, Holiday Deli & Ham owner, named Alumnus of the Year

Don Jordan_2Prominent Tennessee businessman and longtime Mississippi College supporter Don “Papa” Jordan has been named the school’s 2014 Alumnus of the Year.

It’s the latest tribute to an incredible Mississippi College ambassador whose pimento cheese sandwiches are the signature dish at his Holiday Deli & Ham restaurants in the Memphis area. Customers rave about the soups, salads, desserts, and wonderful breakfasts. They love Papa Jordan, too.

Jordan and his son, Trey, founded the popular, family-friendly Tennessee restaurant chain. A thriving franchise operation, Pimento’s Café, became an instant hit with faculty, staff, students and alums on the Mississippi College campus, a few steps from Olde Towne Clinton.

A Kosciusko, Miss., native, Jordan earned his MBA at Harvard University, making him the first in Mississippi College history to achieve that distinction.

Jordan considers the Mississippi College Alumnus of the Year award to be among his greatest lifetime honors. The school continues to be a special place in his heart. “I will forever be grateful to the outstanding education and Christian values that I learned while at Mississippi College.”

Jordan has received kudos for establishing the Faith & Ethics Week programs at the Mississippi College School of Business. The February event brings some of the South’s leading entrepreneurs to the Clinton campus to tell students how their faith is an integral part of their success in the business world. Jordan launched the series to spotlight the responsibilities, opportunities and challenges facing Christian business leaders.

Speakers have included William C. Rhodes III, chairman, president and chief executive of Memphis-based AutoZone Inc. Trey Jordan, owner and president of Holiday Deli & Ham in Memphis, has joined the thought-provoking lineup of speakers. During the week, Mississippi College business professors emphasize faith and ethics in their lectures, whether it’s a management class or a human resources course.

For his tireless work for the university, Papa Jordan was previously named the School of Business Alumnus of the Year.
Being named the university’s 2014 Alumnus of the Year is well-deserved for someone who’s meant so much to the Mississippi College family for decades, school leaders say.

“Papa Jordan is an exemplary alumnus whose love for his alma mater has been exemplified in his investment in the future of Mississippi College students,” says Ron Howard, vice president for academic affairs.

“He combines a deep love of Mississippi College with an outstanding career in the business world,” says School of Business Dean Marcelo Eduardo. “Don Jordan is a most deserving recipient of the Alumnus of the Year recognition.”

It’s been 63 years since Jordan graduated from Mississippi College. But he continues to have fond memories of one special teacher, Frances Skulley. Thanks to her encouragement he was able to attend the Harvard Business School. He became a successful leader with Wendy’s restaurants before opening his own restaurants with his son, Trey.

The Christian values he learned in Mississippi College classrooms are just as important to Papa Jordan more than six decades since his graduation day.

“As I age, I am more and more convinced of just how important the Christian worldview is. Particularly in today’s world, one cannot underestimate the importance of applying our Christian faith to our day-to-day life.”

When he’s not chatting with customers in his down-home style at his Memphis restaurants or talking up a Mississippi College education to potential students, Don Jordan relaxes by heading to the woods to go hunting.