Daniel P. (Dan) Jordan, Ph.D.
A native Mississippian and former Lieutenant in the United States Army Infantry, Daniel P. Jordan received his B.A. (English and history) and M.A. (history) degrees from the University of Mississippi, where he was a scholarship athlete in baseball and basketball and also served as student body president. He was elected to the Ole Miss Hall of Fame as an undergraduate and later as an alumnus. In 1970 he received his Ph.D. (history) from the University of Virginia, where he held a Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Fellowship and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
From 1985 to 2008, Jordan headed the nonprofit Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Concurrently he was a "Scholar in Residence" at the University of Virginia.
Among his publications are three books -- Political Leadership in Jefferson's Virginia (University of Virginia Press); A Richmond Reader (University of North Carolina Press); and Tobacco Merchant: The Story of Universal Leaf Tobacco Company (University Press of Kentucky) -- as well as over eighty articles, essays, and reviews in scholarly journals and reference works. He has presented research papers on numerous national programs and has given well over four hundred lectures to general audiences throughout the United States, including the White House and the U.S. Capitol.
His national media appearances include all the major television networks as well as CNBC; CNN; C-SPAN; PBS-TV; the A&E, Discovery, History, Learning, and Travel Channels; Ken Burns's "Thomas Jefferson;" National Public Radio; and Voice of America. He has testified before Congressional committees on three occasions. From 1981-1994 at Monticello and Stratford Hall Plantation (historic home of the Lees of Virginia), he directed a summer seminar for teachers that attracted participants from fifty states and eight foreign countries.
While a Professor of History at Virginia Commonwealth University, Jordan won two "Teacher of the Year" awards and taught for two years at the Maximum Security Division of the Virginia State Penitentiary. Co-producer of an hour-long documentary for National Public Radio (NPR), he also taught a college history course over an off-campus radio station -- which won him the first of his two Awards of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History.
Jordan has served as chairman of the State Review Board of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and as a member of the Jeffersonian Restoration Advisory Board at the University of Virginia. Other board service includes: the Thomas Jefferson Forum, in Boston; Edgar Allan Poe Foundation; Virginia Historical Society; National Parks and Conservation Association; Eastern National; National Trust for Historic Preservation (vice chairman); Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, in New York; Central Virginia Educational Telecommunications Corporation; the United States Secretary of the Interior's Advisory Board for the National Park System, which he chaired; the Focused Ultrasound Foundation; and the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.
Jordan has served on advisory boards for the Curator of the United States Senate, the Civil War Trust, the Eudora Welty Foundation, the Freedom Forum's Newseum, the Tredegar National Civil War Center, the Virginia State Capitol Restoration, the Center for Digital Editing, and the Marty Stuart Center. He is an Honorary Trustee of the Adams Memorial Foundation.
He has been elected to membership in the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Walpole Society. His professional service includes the Advisory Committee of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Princeton University, the Founding Fathers Papers, Inc., and the Green-Ramsdell Award Committee of the Southern Historical Association. He has served on planning groups for Independence Hall, the White House, the United States Capitol, the Virginia State Capitol, Thomas A. Edison's research laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin (East) as well as on selection panels for Coca-Cola, Jefferson, and Truman Scholars.
Recent honors and awards include: the Virginia Social Studies Association's Scholar Award in History; the United States Department of the Interior's Public Service Award, its highest honor to a private citizen; induction into the Alumni Hall of Fame of the University of Mississippi; the University of Virginia's Raven Alumni Award; the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects' Architecture Medal for Virginia Service; and president of Alpha Chapter, Phi Beta Kappa at the College of William and Mary. He received an honorary doctorate from Drake University and was named the Commonwealth of Virginia's "Outstanding Virginian for 2006."
In 2008, he received a Distinguished Service Award from the Virginia Association of Museums, and - with his wife Lou - the Paul Goodloe McIntire Award for Civic Leadership. In 2009, Jordan was the James Marston Fitch Resident at the American Academy in Rome. In 2012, he received the B. L. C. Wayles Award, the highest honor of the Mississippi Historical Society, and returned to the American Academy in Rome as a Visiting Scholar in 2012 and 2016.
He has been a co-host of an award-winning radio program, a book reviewer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a contributor to Commonwealth Magazine, and the creator of a prototype program for computer-assisted video instruction in the social sciences. As a distinguished visiting lecturer, he has taught at Arizona State University.
Jordan played a central role in the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson in 1993. In addition to directing activities at Monticello, he served on a three-person Executive Committee of the celebration's National Coordinating Committee as well as the Thomas Jefferson Commemoration Commission appointed by President Clinton. In January, he and Mrs. Jordan gave a private tour of Monticello to the Clintons and Gores to launch the 250th as well as a presidential inauguration and administration, an event reaching a worldwide television audience in excess of 200 million persons. He also helped to plan the national commemoration of the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition, which was inaugurated at Monticello in January 2003.
During Jordan's tenure, Monticello started a fundraising program and completed four large capital campaigns, three of them well ahead of schedule, the largest being for $100 million. Altogether, over $210 million was raised. Further, the Monticello endowment grew from zero in 1993 to over $125 million.
Jordan is married to the former Lewellyn (Lou) Schmelzer, an artist, and they have three children: Dan III, a judge in Jackson, Mississippi, and a graduate of the University of Mississippi and the University of Virginia School of Law; Grace, an actress and landscape gardner in Charlottesville and an alum of SUNY, Purchase; and Katherine, who has two degrees from the University of Virginia and most recently was the planner and sustainability designer in the Office of the Architect, Duke University Medical Center. Jordan has been a Little League coach and is a former president of the Richmond Civil War Round Table as well as of a PTA group. The Jordans are Methodists, and have six grandchildren.