Martha Jordan, esteemed Penn State volunteer, named a 2017 Distinguished Alumna

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Last month, Penn State named Martha B. Jordan a 2017 Distinguished Alumna for her service and giving in support of the University. Jordan is the current chair of the Penn State Advisory Council on Philanthropy, which has led Penn State’s effort to launch a new University-wide fundraising campaign, "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence."

An alumna of the Smeal College of Business, Jordan graduated from Penn State with a degree in marketing and statistics. She holds a master of business administration from the University of Cincinnati as well as a juris doctor from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

Before her retirement in 2011, Jordan practiced law for more than 25 years at Latham & Watkins, a top global law firm, where she held a variety of management roles, including six years as the managing partner of the Los Angeles office. Widely recognized for her work, she was named one of California’s top 100 most influential lawyers by California Law Business and selected for the Lawdragon 500, a list of leading lawyers in the U.S. as ranked by clients and peers.

“Penn State helped me to lay the foundation for a successful career and life, and the University continues to do so for so many other students,” said Jordan. “It has been rewarding to now serve in a role that supports Penn State’s mission to shape meaningful opportunities for young people, and I am honored to be recognized as a distinguished alumna at a university that pursues that objective.”

As the chair of Penn State’s Advisory Council on Philanthropy, Jordan has worked alongside University leaders to guide Penn State’s fundraising strategy and lead the University’s corps of 500 volunteers. Before assuming her current role, she served as chair of the Annual Giving Program Committee for the University’s most recently completed campaign, "For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students," helping the University to surpass its $2 billion goal.

“The same qualities that made Martha a brilliant lawyer — her keen analytical mind, tireless work ethic, and skill as a manager of both people and organizations — have made her an extraordinary volunteer leader,” said Dave Lieb, senior associate vice president for development. “We are thankful to have had Martha’s leadership during out last campaign, and we look forward to seeing all that she helps us to accomplish in our current campaign.”

Outside of her service to the University’s development efforts, Jordan has made gifts for scholarships that benefit students in the Smeal College of Business. She established both the Martha Barnhart Jordan Diversity Outreach Scholarship, as well as the Martha Barnhart Scholarship in Business Administration to support students in her home college. In addition, she serves on Smeal’s Board of Visitors, which acts as a corporate board of advisors to Smeal and to Penn State. Jordan formerly served as chair of the board.

Beyond her volunteerism at Penn State, Jordan has been active in charitable and civic organizations on the West Coast. She served on the board of trustees of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and as the chair of the board of the Ketchum Downtown YMCA. She is a proud supporter of Penn State field hockey, and has also served for two years on the national governing body of USA Field Hockey.

Martha currently resides in Los Angeles, California. She and her husband, David Lee, have two daughters, both of whom were student-athletes at, and graduated from, the University of California, Berkeley.

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Last Updated July 17, 2017