Every first-year Franklin student arrives with a blank slate they paint and detail throughout their university experience; however, there are few that decorate it in a way all can admire. Jordan Ricker G’17, is someone many in the Franklin community warmly know and respect. His interests in cross-cultural communication and international studies inspired him to take the lead on a variety of events and programs within the Franklin community. From organizing festivals like Holi: Festival of Colors to the creation of the Amici Program, Jordan continuously wove his enthusiastic spirit into the fabric of Franklin’s campus life.

A native of Washington, D.C., Jordan arrived at Franklin like most, with a yearning to make a difference in the world. Before his Franklin years, he was already involved with several programs in Western Africa, specifically in Senegal and Nigeria. After graduating high school, he worked for a start-up in Nigeria which focused greatly on initiating recycling and inspiring renewable energy. While at Franklin he continued to blaze trails and also learned that not all initiatives always succeed.

In the Fall of 2014, Jordan and some classmates established a Franklin club aimed at helping to make the university transition for incoming students, primarily first-year students, a bit easier. The Amici Program paired Franklin senior mentors with first-year students so that they could answer questions, practice languages and help integrate into the community. However, due to lack of interest, the program failed to grow and did not endure busy student life.
“Failure is just important as success,” says Jordan. Both his initiative to plan the program, and his dedication to keep moving after its failure are admirable.

Growth is inevitable at Franklin; it’s risks like Jordan’s that remind us why we continue to set forth and pursue our global dreams. Through trials and tribulations like Jordan’s and unique to ourselves, we learn exactly how to navigate and are granted the chance to fail and succeed on our own.

Jordan recently completed the 3+1 program offered here at Franklin. He graduated in May ‘16 from Franklin with a B.A. in History and Communication and Media Studies, and in May ’17 with a M.S. in International Management. At the May 2017 Awards Ceremony, on the eve of Franklin’s annual Commencement Ceremony, he was presented with the prestigious Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership Award.

Jordan is currently interning at Tastemakers Africa, an African travel company that focuses on travel, culture, politics and innovation. In May of 2017, Jordan and his Tastemakers Africa team won the Start-Up Innovation Award at the 5th World Tourism Forum Lucerne in Lucerne, where they had the unique opportunity to present their business model on the main stage of the World Tourism Forum Lucerne and also received a free coaching from an experienced business expert for the next two years.

As leadership is not a static endeavor, it is with examples like Jordan's that students learn how to take initiatives and embrace change - be it for succeeding or failing. Every lesson counts.