Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit. For the life of the flesh is common to both men and animals, whereas the life of the spirit is possessed only by the pure in heart who have quaffed from the ocean of faith and partaken of the fruit of certitude. This life knoweth no death, and this existence is crowned by immortality. – Baha’u’llah, The Book of Certitude, p. 120.
One of the great shocks of my life came on October 20, 1982, when a fellow journalist and friend called me and said “Did you know Daniel Jordan?”
With those five words, my heart sank and my soul began to hurt tremendously. How could this be? Dan had recently turned 50; and his Anisa Project had grown into a national movement. He and Don Streets had just established an accredited master’s degree program at National University in San Diego; started a university-based, laboratory school for kindergarten through high school; contracted with the Association for the World University to develop their Anisa Model-based curriculum; and had founded the International Center for Human Development, one of Dan’s lifelong goals.
The next day, Edward Gargan of the New York Times wrote:
A body found Saturday morning in a parking lot in Stamford, Conn., was identified last night as a dean from a California university who had been missing since he arrived in New York City Friday night, the police said.
The dean, Dr. Daniel Jordan of the School of Education at National University in San Diego, had been stabbed to death with a sword, according to a Federal source close to the investigation, and was identified by his wife, who had flown in from the couple’s home in Escondido, Calif., Sunday night after her husband was reported missing. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has formally entered the case.
Dr. Jordan’s body was found at about 11 A.M. Saturday face down at the rear of a parking lot in a commercial area of Stamford, according to Lieut. Joseph Falzetti of the Stamford police. He had been stabbed in the neck and his spinal column had been severed.
The dean arrived at La Guardia Airport from Minneapolis and was scheduled to speak to the Association for the World’s Universities at the New York University Club on West 43d Street the following morning, according to Lieutenant Falzetti…
Dr. Jordan, a Rhodes scholar who received his doctorate from the University of Chicago, was appointed dean three years ago. He was known for his work with the Anisa process, which stresses a ”holistic approach to education,” according to the university’s president, Dr. David Chigos.
“It’s an enormous loss to the university,” said Dr. Chigos. “He was probably the most competent educator in my 30 years in education. He had this enormous capacity for work. He was a man with a mission.”
In addition to his academic duties, Dr. Jordan was a high official of the Bahai faith, a religion with more than 100,000 adherents in the United States and with roots in Iran, where Bahai has 400,000 members. – New York Times, October 21, 1982.
Dan’s murder was never solved.
As a journalist, I wanted to do something at the time to help solve it, so I interviewed the local Stamford chief of police, the coroner, one of the many FBI agents assigned to the case, and several other officials. After gathering all the facts I could, I agreed with their initial theory—that Dan’s murder had all the hallmarks of a professional assassination. The coroner told me “Whoever did this was a pro—he knew exactly what he was doing, and had done it many times before.” But that theory still remains only a theory, because the murderer (or murderers) were careful to leave very little evidence. No one has ever been arrested for the crime.
During that same period, however, Iran’s revolutionary government kidnapped and executed many of the elected leaders of the Iranian Baha’i community. I always wondered—as have many others, including an FBI agent I interviewed—whether that murderous campaign against the Iranian Baha’is had extended itself to the United States and caught Dan Jordan in its web. With more than three decades now gone, we may never know the answer to that question. Dan’s death remains a mystery.
We do know, though, that the Baha’i world, the world of education and humanity itself suffered a profound loss with Dan’s passing. A true visionary and genius, he left us an enormous legacy—but he had so much more to give, had he lived.
Dan’s grave is in Stamford, Connecticut’s Long Ridge Union Cemetery. His tombstone depicts a Tree of Life, and says “When the swords flash, go forward—when the shafts fly, press onward! – Baha’u’llah.”
May God crown his bright existence with immortality, and lift him joyously up to the highest heavens in the land of lights.
Next: Replanting Dan Jordan’s Educational Legacy at Stanford