With Angel Jordan at the helm, the university became synonymous with excellence, innovation, and global prominence. His 40+ year career directly coincided with the remarkable rise of Carnegie Mellon University.
Angel Jordan, trailblazer, key architect, and builder of a department, a college, and a university, passed away on August 4, 2017.
“Angel Jordan helped to define what Carnegie Mellon is today,” said James H. Garrett, Jr., dean of the College of Engineering. “He had vision and he had the ability to bring amazing people to Carnegie Mellon to achieve that vision. Those people were thought leaders in computer engineering, engineering design, magnetics, and systems, and they transformed Carnegie Mellon into the engineering powerhouse that it is today.”
Angel Jordan helped to define what Carnegie Mellon is today.James H. Garrett, Jr., Dean, College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Serving in various roles throughout his career, Jordan left his mark on the university. After earning his Ph.D., he became an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in 1959, was made an associate professor in 1962, and became a full professor in 1966. After serving as dean of the Carnegie Institute of Technology from 1979-83, Jordan was the university provost until 1991. He had a pivotal role in launching many powerhouse programs and institutions, including the School of Computer Science, the Software Engineering Institute, and the Robotics Institute. Upon his retirement in 2000, Jordan remained a friend and confidant to many of Carnegie Mellon’s leaders.
“Angel was a constant presence on campus deep into his retirement,” said Jelena Kovačević, Hamerschlag University Professor and head of the electrical and computer engineering department. “He was always willing to lend an ear and listen. I was particularly touched that he would take the time to stop by and see how I was doing as a new department head and offer advice. I am heartbroken.”
A dedicated and inspirational department head, Jordan often went out of his way to make his faculty comfortable. Upon Professor Dan Siewiorek’s first day teaching in the electrical and computer engineering department, Jordan volunteered to co-teach his first class.
“I showed up one wintry January day and was scheduled to teach a Monday morning 8:30 a.m. junior-level course on computer architecture. To give me confidence, Angel volunteered to be my co-instructor,” said Siewiorek. “The area was outside of his main field of expertise, but Angel wanted to make sure my first day in the classroom went smoothly. This was just one of the many things he did throughout his career to make sure faculty felt comfortable. He treated us like family.”
Angel was a constant presence on campus deep into his retirement.Jelena Kovačević, Hamerschlag University Professor and Department Head, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
As a researcher, Jordan made numerous scientific and technical contributions in semiconductor electronics and materials science and engineering, including tunnel diodes, junction devices, photodiodes, and high frequency devices, to name a few. His work in these areas formed the foundation for many research areas in today’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Angel Jordan is an icon at Carnegie Mellon University. Dedicating his entire career to the university, he was one of the leaders who transformed Carnegie Mellon into the prominent world-class educational and research institution it is today. His landmark achievements will have a resounding impact for years to come.
Born in Pamplona, Spain, Jordan attended the University of Zaragoza where he received his undergraduate degree in Physics in 1952. After coming to the United States, Jordan enrolled at what was then the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he earned a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1959. His wife, Nieves Jordan, received her Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1958 and 1960.
The Angel Jordan Early Career Professorship
In spring 2017, the College of Engineering celebrated the establishment of the Angel Jordan Early Career Professorship. The fund was established through gifts made by more than 50 alumni and friends grateful to Dr. Jordan for his leadership and legacy. The Jordan Professorship is awarded to an outstanding faculty member in ECE. In spring 2017, it was awarded to Vyas Sekar. If you would like to honor Angel Jordan’s legacy at CMU, please visit giving.cmu.edu/AngelJordan.
Jordan's Early Career Professorship
Assistant Professor of ECE Vyas Sekar was awarded the Angel Jordan Early Career Professorship for his contributions in the academic and research sectors of Carnegie Mellon’s College of Engineering.
The Department of ECE created the Angel Jordan Early Career Professorship to honor and celebrate the undeniable impact that Angel Jordan has had on Carnegie Mellon and the College of Engineering.
Representatives from the Department of ECE created the Angel Jordan Early Career Professorship to bestow appreciation upon a young faculty member who has achieved great feats in the beginning of their career. By honoring a faculty member with this professorship, the ECE Department indicates the top-notch quality of its instructors. Assistant Professor Vyas Sekar was recognized as one of these influential instructors because of his profound research on networking, security, and systems, as well as his undeniable teaching abilities.
During the award ceremony held on May 11, 2017, Sekar commented on the impact that Jordan had on his own career:
“It is a great honor as a junior faculty member to receive a named professorship in general, especially so when it is named after one of the stalwarts of Carnegie Mellon. As I was reading through Angel’s illustrious career at CMU and beyond, it struck me that in many ways, I couldn’t even be here receiving this award if not for many of his contributions in the past. He was instrumental in the creation of the School of Computer Science, which I graduated from, and many of the other institutions here that I benefited from in graduate school. It is indeed very humbling to look back at Angel’s amazing technical and service contributions to CMU and the broader engineering and computing community, and it gives me renewed motivation and drive to try and live up to being a worthy recipient of a professorship named in his honor.”