Please join us at a memorial program and reception as we celebrate the life and legacy of Angel Jordan, Emeritus University Professor and former Provost.
1930 - 2017
Angel Jordan, Emeritus University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was an icon at Carnegie Mellon. Dedicating his entire career to the university, he was one of the leaders who transformed Carnegie Mellon into a prominent world-class educational and research institution.
Angel was born in Pamplona, Spain in 1930. He came to the U.S. in 1956 with his wife, Nieves, where they both received Ph.D.'s in Electrical Engineering in 1959 at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, which became Carnegie Mellon University in 1967. Starting as a graduate teaching assistant after receiving his Ph.D., Angel had a wide-ranging, six decade career at CMU.
Over the years, he was interested in and conducted research on semiconductor devices, integrated circuits, thin films, Materials Science and Engineering, Gas Sensing Devices and Systems, Environmental and Biomedical Instrumentation, and Intelligent Sensors. More recently, he was interested in robotics, automation, and software engineering, focusing on technological change and technology transfer. He conducted research on advanced video systems, technological innovation, management of technology, and studies of the computer industry.
Angel served in a variety of leadership roles for the university. From 1969-1979, he served as the department head for Electrical and Computer Engineering. In that role, Angel was instrumental in building one of the country's first and finest university laboratories in solid state devices. He also recognized and fostered new academic areas; encouraged interdisciplinary educational initiatives; and propelled the department to leading positions in funded research, levels of enrollment, and quality of its undergraduate and graduate programs.
Angel was appointed Dean of the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1979 and served in that capacity until 1983. As Dean, he played a key role in the formation of the Robotics Institute, the first and still largest entity of its kind in the world. He was also instrumental in establishing the Software Engineering Institute, of which he was twice its Acting Director.
Angel's impressive accomplishments and leadership resulted in him being named as Provost of the university throughout the 1980s until 1991. During that time, he helped to consolidate the university's position as one of the world's foremost educational and research institutions. Most prominently, Angel elevated the Computer Science department, which he had initially founded, creating the School of Computer Science, which consistently ranks at the top of U.S. graduate programs in computer science and whose graduates are highly prized by industry. While Provost, he also took great pride in promoting innovative curricula to integrate technological and non-scientific fields of study.
Angel published extensively and lectured at American and international universities on interdisciplinary education, industry/university relations, technology transfer, and strategic planning. As a faculty member and later as a university administrator, he was a consultant to industry, universities, and government agencies in the U.S. and abroad. He also served on the board of directors and science advisory committees of several companies, as well as not-for-profit organizations. After his retirement, as a Professor Emeritus, he remained actively engaged in numerous research, as well as educational, undertakings, at the university and elsewhere.
Angel's contributions to engineering earned him national and international recognition. He was a member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the Academia de Ingeniera, Spain's NAE. He was a fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Angel was also an honorific professor of three universities in China. Since he always remained close to the country of his birth, he was particularly fond of having received Doctor Honoris Causa from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, the Public University of Navarra, and the University Carlos III in Spain.
Perhaps most importantly for him at a personal level, Angel will be remembered fondly as a warm and engaging teacher by several generations of undergraduate and graduate students at the university he loved, many of whom he mentored to become influential leaders in their respective fields. Over the course of his career, Angel advised 26 Ph.D. students who themselves went on to successful careers.
He always remained deeply attuned to his Spanish roots, and maintained close professional, as well as personal ties, to the land of his birth. But, he took great pride in having played leadership roles at CMU when it helped to launch and then consolidate the now widely acknowledged post-industrial trajectory of Pittsburgh, a city which adopted him and his wife over 60 years ago.
Angel is survived by his wife, Nieves; and his three sons, Dr. Edward Jordan and his wife, Rina of Utah; Xavier Jordan and his wife, Perlita Peret of Washington, D.C.; and Arthur Jordan and his wife, Dana of Upper St. Clair. He was a loving grandfather to Spencer, Kyle, Ines, Leila, Anton, and Inigo.
The university's momentous growth is largely due to the work and dedication of individuals who have spent years working to advance academic excellence and technology. Angel was one of these individuals. To thank him for his commitment, the Angel Jordan Early Career Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering was created in his name as an enduring tribute and was first awarded in May 2017. More than 50 donors gave to this professorship, creating an everlasting remembrance of Angel Jordan and his legacy.
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