Alumni/ae Volunteer Award – Reunion 2008

Barbara Herber Jordan has spent her life helping others make the most of their lives and their communities.


After Drew, Barbara earned a Master’s in guidance and political science and a Professional Diploma in administration and supervision at St. John’s University.  She had a long career at Memorial Junior High in Valley Stream, New York, where she taught social studies for four years before becoming a guidance counselor and then head of Pupil Personnel Services.

Barbara says, “Thanks to Dr. Robert Smith, political science professor at Drew, my life has been filled with politics of every kind.”  Early in her teaching career she became active in the Teachers Association, served on the team which gained the first teachers’ contract in Valley Stream history, and ultimately became president of the district union of over 700 teachers.  Following “Prof” Smith’s advice, she joined the local minority political party and ran for public office in Nassau County on the Conservative line.


In 1986 Barbara left Memorial to move to East Hampton, Long Island with her late husband, Rudi.  Although she enjoyed fishing and boating with her newly-retired husband, Barbara sought volunteer activity.  She was a counselor for Catholic Charities, and over the years she has taught English for the Literary Volunteers of America.  She currently heads the trustees of her church, and is active in all aspects of church life.

An invitation from the League of Women Voters gave Barbara’s life a new direction.  Soon she was organizing voter registration drives, moderating debates, and working on housing advocacy.  She has served as president of the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons and is active on the county level.

As the League’s affordable housing chair, Barbara created and produced a video and booklet, “Trouble in Paradise:  The Affordable Housing Crisis on the South Fork.”  The film, designed to encourage a more positive public response, was made widely available in the community.  Barbara has served on the Housing Committee of the Town of East Hampton’s Comprehensive Plan and the East Hampton Town Housing Authority, on a state legislator’s task force on affordable housing, and is now serving a five-year term on the East Hampton Housing Advisory Board.

Barbara has wonderful memories of Drew and has been in close touch with Drew friends for 50 years.  In that time, she says she has become “a woman who is never afraid to speak her mind for anything and everything she believes in.”  We are sure “Prof” Smith would have been as proud of her as we are.