EDUCATION LEADERS: The David and Jan Gordon Conference Room was dedicated April 10 at NSU- Broken Arrow. Pictured are Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs for NSU-BA Dr. Ed Huckeby, NSU President Dr. Don Betz, Regional University System of Oklahoma Regent Jan Gordon, RUSO Regent Belva Howard and RUSO Regent Connie Reilly.
PETER HENSHAW, Northeastern State University
Friends and family of Jan Gordon and the late David Gordon joined Northeastern State University administrators, faculty and staff April 10 on the Broken Arrow campus to dedicate the David and Jan Gordon Conference Room in honor of the couple’s years of service to the Regional University System of Oklahoma and NSU.
Jan Gordon is serving a second term on the RUSO board, having been appointed by Gov. Frank Keating to complete her husband’s term following his untimely death in spring 1999. David Gordon is credited with leading the effort to create a branch campus of NSU in Broken Arrow.
President Don Betz praised the “farsighted vision and dreams” that characterized the Gordons’ determination to build a campus that serves Broken Arrow and Greater Tulsa and their dedication to higher education.
“This room is being dedicated to two wonderful people who personify commitment to Broken Arrow and its future, and to NSU,” Betz said. “Today we want to say thank you to you in an enduring fashion. As the years go by, this will become a gathering place for the best and the brightest in Broken Arrow.”
Jan Gordon acknowledged the efforts of many individuals to bring a university branch campus to Broken Arrow, and called her husband “one of a kind.”
“There is a saying that the purpose of life is to plant trees under whose shade you will not sit,” she said. “David was a catalyst, but it took many people to make this happen.”
Among those who worked alongside David Gordon to create NSU-BA was Clarence Oliver, retired Broken Arrow Public Schools superintendent.
“It was tremendously exciting to see this university come into place,” Oliver recalled. “David was a visionary, and he would love to be seated at the end of this table, looking out this window onto the turnpike and imagining what he would do next.”
The south-facing window in the David and Jan Gordon Conference Room, located adjacent to administrative offices in the main building that is distinguished by NSU’s iconic clock tower, offers a compelling view down the Creek Turnpike. Completion of a thoroughfare on Broken Arrow’s south side provided convenient access when the campus opened for classes in fall 200l.
Oliver and Gordon were among a group of civic leaders who campaigned to pass a city sales tax that provided funding to build the first three buildings at NSU-BA. The creation of a branch campus in the Tulsa area was authorized by the Oklahoma state legislature after the University Center at Tulsa was dissolved in 1998. NSU joined the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and Langston University in comprising that group.
NSU-BA continues to flourish, offering almost 50 degree programs to a student population of more than 3,000. Classes leading to the associate’s degree are offered on campus through Tulsa Community College. Physically, the campus has expanded in recent years to six buildings, made possible through a $26 million city tax commitment by the citizens of Broken Arrow and $16 million through Tulsa Vision 2025. NSU-BA campus now has the capacity to serve more than 8,000 students annually and facilities to accommodate conferences and other special events.
The Gordons moved to Broken Arrow in 1971 and formed Gordon Companies, Inc., a building and development group. Shortly before his death, David Gordon was named Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year would have become chair of the Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges (now known as RUSO) in June 1999. Jan recently concluded a term as RUSO chair and continues the legacy of civic service the couple began, as president of the family company and as an active community leader. She is president of the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors, a director for both the Oklahoma Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors, and an involved member of the executive committee of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce and the Leadership Tulsa, among other organizations.
For more information about NSU, visit www.nsuok.edu.