Isaac M. Jordan

Founder Isaac M. Jordan, MIAMI (OHIO) 1857, born on a farm in central Pennsylvania, was 20 years old at the time of Sigma Chi's founding. When he was a boy, he moved with his family to Ohio and became friends with Benjamin Piatt Runkle, MIAMI (OHIO) 1857.

Jordan is best remembered for his strong will and determined purpose. Of him, Runkle recalled, “Isaac M. Jordan — playmate of my boyhood, schoolmate, friend for long and strenuous years of manhood, and always the incarnation of high resolves, boundless energy, lofty ambitions, gifted with untiring perseverance and ability that made success a certainty; he has left an example of what a strong will and determined purpose can accomplish. If ever there was a 'self-made' man who had a high right to be proud of the making, that was Brother Jordan. Nothing was too lofty for his aspirations, nothing to his vigorous mind, impossible. He showed no signs of faltering. He did everything with the same tremendous energy.”

In a speech he gave in 1884, he delineated the valued criteria for pledging, which is now known as The Jordan Standard. Following graduation from Miami, he studied law, was admitted to the bar, and practiced law in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio. He was elected to the Congress in 1882, easily winning as a Democrat in a strong Republican district.

Jordan aided in the organization of the Cincinnati Alumni Chapter in 1881, was involved with the planning of the 14th and 15th Grand Chapters in 1882 and 1884, respectively, and served as the orator of the latter. His accidental death in 1890 was deeply mourned throughout southwestern Ohio. Leaving his law offices in downtown Cincinnati, he paused at the elevator entrance and turned to greet a friend. Unnoticed by him, the elevator ascended to the floor above, the door still partly open. With a quick movement, and still facing his friend, he stepped into the open elevator shaft and fell to his death.

The tragedy created a shock throughout the city. All courts adjourned, and public businesses were stilled. The newspapers of the day devoted entire pages, with prominent headlines and drawings, to the dreadful occurrence.

Jordan is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.