Troy graduate ‘walks’ at 63

Published 10:50 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Matthew Jordan Sr. will receive his master’s degree in criminal justice from Troy University on Friday.

What’s most noteworthy about the day is that Jordan will be 63 years old when he becomes a “Troy man.”

Jordan doesn’t even try to hide the excitement of his accomplishment.

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“I’ve done something to make me feel good,” he said with a smile. “I’ve been in school for about six years now and it feels real good to have made it. My family is proud of me and I’m right proud, too.”

Not many men have the opportunity to attend college with their son and granddaughter, so that also sets Jordan apart from the other graduates.

“When I started to college, I was 57 years old and that’s pretty old standing against other freshmen,” Jordan said. “I was scared, but going to college was something I wanted to do and I wasn’t going to let being scared keep me away.”

Jordan previously served six years in the U.S. Army and retired from a career in corrections – 20 years at prisons from Easterling to Kilby. During that time, he had gone “as far as” he could go without an education.

“When you retire and are sitting on the porch, you have time to reflect,” he said. “I live in a college town and I wondered why it took me so long to want to get an education.”

Going to college became foremost in Jordan’s mind, and it didn’t concern him that his son, Matthew Jordan, Jr., and a granddaughter, Jasmine Jackson, were enrolled at Troy University.

“I’ve got four children, 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren,” Jordan said. “I wanted to get a college degree so I could set a good example for them.  I wanted them to see that if you work hard, you can achieve.”

Jordan stepped onto the Troy University campus determined to let nothing keep him from getting a diploma.

“Most college students are young people,” he said. “I was in a whole different world. It was frightening. But, the young people saw me trying and they supported me. The football players really supported me. They wanted to see me do good.”

Jordan said one day “at the beginning” he had left his glasses in his car.

“I couldn’t see to fill out the papers and this young man, Ben Jones, filled them out for me. He was real decent.

“I studied hard and worked hard. I’d stay up way into the night. But I think one thing that helped me the most was the experience that I had. Young people don’t have the experience that goes along with age and working.”

Jordan’s hard work and determination paid off. He received his undergraduate degree and decided to “go for” a master’s degree.

On Friday, Matthew Jordan, Sr. said he’ll be smiling when he says, “I’m a Troy man.” He said nobody will be prouder to make that claim than he will.