I. King Jordan has distinguished himself as a scholar, teacher, and leader in education. He has earned the attention and admiration of the nation as the first deaf president of an institution of higher education. As Gallaudet University's first deaf president in the institution’s 125-year history, he represents the actuality of his now famous statement, "Deaf people can do anything except hear."
Jordan lost his hearing while serving in the U.S. Navy. Undaunted, he received his bachelor's degree from Gallaudet University. After earning his master’s degree and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Tennessee, Jordan joined the faculty at Gallaudet. He later became the Dean of the College of Arts and Science, and then president in 1988.
Jordan serves on national and international boards and committees concerned with deafness. He has been a visiting scholar to a number of universities internationally. Jordan is the recipient of numerous awards including the Leadership and Dedication Award for Civil and Human Rights for All Mankind, Washington, D.C. City Council, Ward 5, 1989; Educator of the Year, Delta Phi Epsilon Honorary Society, 1988; the United States Comptroller General ’s Award, 1987; Distinguished Leadership Award, National Association for Community Leadership, 1989; One-of-a-Kind Award, People-to-People Committee for the Handicapped, 1989; and the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award, 1989.