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Vernon Jordan accepts MCCA’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization’s Diversity Honors Gala, held at the Lincoln Center in New York City.


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ordan’s record of achieve- ment in diff erent areas from social justice to poli- tics is remarkable. A strong leader in the Civil Rights Movement, he helped desegregate the University of Georgia, expanded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and led the Voter Education Project, United Negro College


Fund, and National Urban League. In the political arena, Jordan developed a reputation as “the ultimate Washington Insider,” after advising President Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, leading his transition team, and forging advisory relationships with top political fi gures. In the private sector, Jordan, who lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Ann, has concurrently served as senior counsel at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLC, and senior managing director at Lazard Frères & Co. LLC for almost 12 years while also serving on the board of directors for numerous Fortune 500 corporations.


DIVERSITY & THE BAR® NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011


SEEDS OF SUCCESS Jordan’s success seems to have begun at an early age, due to a combination of dynamic personal qualities, a unique childhood environment, and a strong relationship with his mother. Jordon was born on August 15, 1935,


to Vernon E. Jordan Sr., a postal worker, and Mary Belle Jordan, the owner of a catering company. He grew up with an older half-brother, Warren, and a younger brother, Windsor. Jordan spent most of his childhood years living in Atlanta at University Homes, the fi rst public hous- ing project for black people in the United States. T e complex was located amidst a cluster of black colleges: Atlanta University, and Clark, Morehouse, Morris Brown, and Spelman colleges. It was an inspiring place, Jordan says, where famous people came to speak and eminent professors taught. “When I went to music practice, to the


theater, to the movies, I walked through these campuses,” Jordan explains. “I’d see Dr. James P. Brawley, the president of Clark College, all dressed up, walking with a briefcase. I’d see Rufus E. Clement, the president of Atlanta University, who always wore a vest with his Phi Beta Kappa key across it. I remember one Saturday coming


MCCA.COM


IT’S FITTING THAT MCCA HAS CHOSEN JORDAN, 76, AS THE RECIPIENT OF ITS FIRST-EVER LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, WHICH WAS PRESENTED LAST SEPTEMBER AT A GALA AT NEW YORK CITY’S LINCOLN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS.

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