On January 19, 2023, Goodwin University Veteran Coordinator Craig Jordan was inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame along with 11 other distinguished veterans who have made significant contributions to their communities after leaving military service. The ceremony was held at the National Guard Armory Drill Shed in Hartford.
Joining Jordan in the new class of inductees are Edwin Gomes (posthumous, U.S Army), Alvin Kinsall (U.S. Navy), Thaddeus Martin (U.S. Air Force), Daniel Matthews (U.S. Marine Corps), James Peter Matthews (U.S. Army Reserve), David Paul McCaffrey (U.S. Navy), Thomas Olson (U.S. Navy), Regina Rush-Kittle, (U.S. Marine Corps/Army Reserve), John Waggoner (U.S. Navy), Ronald Weil, Sr. (U.S. Army), and Michael Zacchea (posthumous, U.S. Marine Corps).
Following military service that included a tour in Vietnam as a U.S. Army platoon leader, Jordan embarked on a career in education that included experience as a teacher, coach, program leader, assistant principal, and principal of East Hartford High School. He continued working with youth as the Educational/Vocational Director at the Connecticut Junior Republic.
Jordan joined Goodwin University’s Student Affairs team as Veteran Coordinator in January 2017, an appointment that filled a particularly important need for the school and its students. “Student veterans bring with them life experiences that are unlike those of their classmates,” offered Goodwin’s president, Mark Scheinberg. “They come to us from years spent making life-and-death decisions, and suddenly they are in a new environment with entirely different expectations and responsibilities. It was critical to find someone who could interact with them on their own terms, and luckily we found that person in Craig.”
Jordan wasted no time putting his connections to work building a community-within-a-community at Goodwin. For a variety of reasons, many student veterans choose not to self-identify during the admission process. By welcoming veterans from throughout the region to the East Hartford campus and providing experiences tailored to them, Jordan developed Goodwin as a resource where Connecticut veterans — students and non-students alike — would be respected and their voices heard. Since his arrival, Goodwin has been recognized as a Veteran Friendly School, Veteran Friendly Spouse School, and a Yellow Ribbon Program Select School for its support programs.
“Craig models Goodwin’s core value of putting student success at the center of all that we do,” said Kim McGinnis, Dean of Students. “We genuinely value and respect each of our students, and take the time to get to know them. Craig build relationships with our veteran students, ensuring their individual needs are met by providing necessary supports to help them reach their goals.”
While much support for student veterans takes place in the course of the academic regular day at Goodwin, there have been some true landmark accomplishments on Jordan’s watch. In 2019, he was instrumental on a volunteer committee that brought the Fallen Star Memorial to Goodwin. At a cost of about $300K, the centerpiece is an enormous star imbedded in the earth, surrounded by sculptures that pay tribute to Connecticut’s Gold Star families. Now the memorial serves as a venue for events such as 9/11 services as well as a place of reflection for the public.
In 2021, Jordan coordinated the opening of a Veterans OASIS (Operation Academic Support for Incoming Service) on campus, adjacent to the Student Affairs Office. This had been a long-desired goal for Goodwin and now provides student veterans with resources and a set-aside facility that connects them to the student body at large but also gives them access to veteran-specific supports. “We had talked about a facility for a long time and finally all the pieces came together,” said Dr. Ethan Foxman, a Goodwin trustee, president of the Goodwin Foundation, and a leadership donor on the project. “Credit to Craig for keeping the board engaged in the vision of the OASIS. We are so proud to be able to provide this specialized support to our student veterans.”
Several days after the Hall of Fame event, Jordan was honored by the Goodwin community at a reception hosted by President Scheinberg and Congressman John Larson, a childhood friend of Jordan. In addition to citing a number of examples of Jordan’s leadership during his military and educational careers, Larson added, “Craig has spent a lifetime ensuring that veterans receive the services and support they so richly deserve.”