“I’ve always felt that as long as you are alive, you should be doing something that makes a difference… You don’t have to do big, gigantic things. Just do things that incrementally make a difference.” Barbara Jordan

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That Barbara Jordan quote is one of my favorites. I’ve adapted it as a core personal value and Jordan as a personal hero. The words above, when I first read them in Austin’s Barbara Jordan International Airport, reminded me of another personal hero, Sam Walton who was reported to “get up every day bound and determined to improve something.”

If you do little things every day with integrity, moving in the direction of your God-given vision and dreams, never giving up, you will make big strides over time. Make a difference. Create a legacy. Change the world. Do it one courageous act of faith at a time, day in and day out, in things great and small. That’s how Jordan lived and that’s what Jordan’s statue stands to remind us at UT Austin.

Jordan Honored with Statue

In 1999, Texas Monthly named Barbara Jordan the Role Model of the Century. She was the first female to be honored with a statue on the University of Texas Campus. The University of Texas at Austin is honored by her likeness and her resonant words carved in stone in their prominent position in front of The Union at 24th and Guadalupe.

Jordan Gives Keynote at Democratic National Convention 1992

Barbara Jordan speaks at the 1992 Democratic Convention in New York, NY where President Clinton was nominated.

Jordan Gives Keynote at Democratic National Convention 1976

Barbara Jordan made history as the first African American woman to deliver a keynote speech the Democratic National Convention where President Carter was nominated.

Interested in learning more about Barbara Jordan?

This Dole Institute talk and interview with Max Sherman, author of “Barbara Jordan: Speaking the Truth with Eloquent Thunder,” gives an excellent overview of why Jordan is worthy of her “Role Model of the Century” title.