Leland Thomas Jordan (1906 – 1976)
Leland Thomas Jordan, class of 1929, was a native of Lufkin, Texas. Known to friends and colleagues as “L.T.”, he was truly an international citizen, spending more than 30 years in Venezuela and Kuwait.
Mr. Jordan began his career in the oil fields of Kansas and Oklahoma during summer breaks from Texas A&M University where he studied mechanical engineering. He was captain of Battery A in the Corps of Cadets and was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) upon graduation in 1929.
Gulf Oil Corporation hired Mr. Jordan in 1929 as a production engineer in the oil fields of Venezuela. By 1945, he was general manager of Gulf Oil’s Western Division in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
Gulf Oil and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, later known as British Petroleum, created the Kuwait Oil Company, Ltd. and in 1948, picked Leland Jordan to manage this young company. In thirteen short years, Mr. Jordan with employees from twenty-nine countries transformed this company into a highly successful enterprise.
In recognition of Mr. Jordan’s service to British interests in Kuwait, Queen Elizabeth II appointed him Honorary Commander of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire in 1958, and Honorary Knight Commander in 1961, honors rarely conferred upon a non-British subject.
Upon retirement in 1962, Mr. Jordan returned to Lufkin with his wife of 27 years, the former Jessie Wright. He continued to play an integral role in the affairs of the Kuwait Oil Company and was actively involved in the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M University, becoming a charter member of the Century Club.
Jessie Wright Jordan
Also a native of Lufkin, TX, Mrs. Jordan was in fact born and raised next door to L.T. Jordan and they grew up childhood best friends. They eventually married after Mr. Jordan had worked in Venezuela for a few years. After moving to Kuwait, Mrs. Jordan often acted as the Queen’s representative, working at official events in Kuwait.
After Mr. Jordan passed away in 1976 and in his memory, Mrs. Jordan endowed Texas A&M University with the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness. Founded in December of 1986, the Institute serves to foster Mr. Jordan’s spirit of internationalism in the students of this university.
For more insight into the life of the Jordans, please view the Jordan Collection.