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This Day in Georgia History

May 20, 2008

Hamilton Jordan Died

To view an image of Hamilton Jordan, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

After repeated battles with cancer, Hamilton Jordan died of the disease in Atlanta at age 63. Jordan was born on Sept. 21, 1944, in Charolette, N.C., where his father was stationed during World War II. After the war, his family returned to their home in Albany. He attended the University of Georgia, graduating in 1967 with a BA in political science. Throughout his youth, Jordan had been interested in politics and in 1966 volunteered to help then state senator Jimmy Carter in his first and unsuccessful run for governor. When Carter ran again in 1970 and won, he picked the 26-year-old Jordan to be his executive secretary. Jordan served in that capacity for two years but had higher aspirations for his boss. At the time, Georgia governors could only serve a single term, so Jordan developed a plan on show Carter could become the Democratic nominee for president in 1976. Carter followed the plan and chose Jordan to be his Chief of Staff and trusted aide upon taking office in 1977. Jordan ran an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1986. In addition to politics, Jordan developed a passion for cancer research - a concern motivated by his own battle with cancer. In 2000, he wrote the New York Times Bestseller No Such Thing as a Bad Day as a memoir of his optimism in the face of battles with three separate forms of the disease. Jordan later became a fellow with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. His last major achievement was planning a 2007 conference, The Carter Presidency: Lessons for the 21st Century, in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of Jimmy Carter as the 39th president of the United States.