Otha Jordan is the ninth of fifteen children. He has had an active career in information technology, human resources and consulting. He was the first in his family to graduate from college and considers that accomplishment to be a gift to his parents.
Such a perspective is indicative of not only his approach to education, but also his position as a parent. Otha completed his MBA this year and he had the distinct honor of participating in RMU’s graduation ceremony with a very important person – his eldest daughter Jessica Sutton.
An Army veteran who recently returned from the military, Jessica had made a promise to her dad that she would complete her college education. She completed her associate’s degree during her time in the service and when she returned home to Chicago, she started to complete her degree at UIC. “I ended up looking into health and wellness programs and Robert Morris popped up. Private schools weren’t on my radar, but it came at the perfect time – I needed flexibility and a program that was more in line with what I wanted to do.”
She has been working as a personal trainer and wellness coach, and the programs at RMU provided more choices for study in her field, as well as the flexibility she sought. When Jessica told her dad about RMU as her choice, Otha offered the best recommendation possible: “That’s where I’m in graduate school!”
“I felt she had to find Robert Morris herself,” Otha recalls. He was then able to share his positive reactions, telling her of how he witnessed the joy students expressed at being in an environment they loved. “They come to school with a longing and an excitement to participate,” he said. “There is a true value that RMU brings to the urban landscape.”
Before long, Jessica completed her bachelor’s and the timing couldn’t have worked out better. Otha had completed his master’s and they both participated in the April 13 graduation ceremony. He remarked, “It was amazing to walk across the stage with my daughter.” He considers himself a lifelong learner, an innovator and a technologist. He will continue with his career as a consultant, but continuing education is always in his future.
As for Jessica, once again, the stars aligned in such a way that she is taking advantage of graduate school at Robert Morris. She thought she wanted to take a break from college, but “One thing stuck out to me. People shared their opinions about the difficulty in going back to school after too big of a break. I thought I should stay with the flow – and I’m not getting any younger,” she said. So, her regular appearance on the Dean’s List and the master’s program in Human Performance helped her make the jump.
“What I love about RMU is that it is smaller, more personable. I’m able to concentrate more.“ She expects that this degree and her experience in the military will help her do a better job in the area of fitness and wellness. She is considering working with veterans and is open to see what opportunities would come her way in this area.
Immediately after every graduation ceremony, Robert Morris University has a significant tradition. New graduates walk through a gauntlet of cheering and applauding faculty and staff members before they greet family and friends. With their classmates, Otha and Jessica made their way through, accepting all the warm wishes. But then they shared a special and unique bond, when they turned and congratulated each other.