Family of Jordan Jeter ’16 endows Elon Experiences scholarship to support Black students

The “Jordan Jeter ’16 Elon Experiences Scholarship” is a new endowment that will go into effect this fall. Jeter's family and friends donated $50,000 in his memory, honoring the legacy that he leaves behind at Elon.

The family and friends of the late Jordan Jeter ’16, who passed away unexpectedly in 2022, have created a new endowed scholarship to honor his memory and the legacy of achievement at Elon he left behind.

Jordan Jeter '16The new Jordan Jeter ’16 Elon Experiences Scholarship will provide Elon students the opportunity to follow in his footsteps with the hope that Black students with financial need will have the opportunities at Elon that they deserve. The scholarship will go specifically to support students as they pursue the Elon Experiences: undergraduate research, study abroad, internships, service-learning, leadership opportunities and student-designed projects.

The scholarship is supported by money raised through a GoFundMe page created by Jeter’s friends including fellow Elon alumni Mark Malburg ’18, Dan Gaffey ’16 and Jordan Bednar ’17 to assist his family. The family decided to give $50,000 left over after Jeter’s funeral to endow this scholarship at Elon in his memory because of how impactful the university was to his life.

Jordan Jeter ’16 with his mother, Donna Bergeron, and sister, Morgan Jeter.

“He chose Elon from a recruiting event, and because he had friends that were students there. He said it just always felt like home whenever he was on campus,” explained his mother, Donna Bergeron.

Jeter studied international business at Elon as a Leon and Lorraine Watson Odyssey Scholar. He received an Elon Commitment Scholarship as well as a Watson Elon Experience Study Abroad Grant. Study abroad provided Jeter with experiences that would forever change his perspective on life. “His travel bug really started because of his semester abroad,” Bergeron said.

“He loved to travel, always wanted to try new things, and was never idle,” said his sister, Morgan Jeter. “He never met a stranger. He was extremely smart, knew everybody and always made every person he met feel special because he really listened to you.”

Jordan Jeter ’16 and Rachel Rudd ’16 in Munich at Oktoberfest in 2014.

During a semester abroad as an Elon student, Jeter traveled to Amsterdam, Scotland, Munich, Frankfort and Oxford and was joined by his friend, Dan Gaffey. “There was no better person to spend a semester abroad with. He was always authentically himself,” Gaffney said. “He loved to try new cuisines and he had such an ability to connect with people.”

Following graduation, Jeter was always traveling to new places. “The study abroad program had such an impact on him that once he graduated, he visited Ireland, Mexico, France, Italy, India, Canada and Jamaica,” Bergeron said.

He worked hard to achieve his job as manager of business recruiting for ezCater. He loved working at ezCater because of the people, but also because of the opportunity a sabbatical each year for travel. Prior to his passing, he had just returned from India and he also had plans to go to Japan.

Jordan Jeter ’16 and Dan Gaffey ’16 on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard the summer before flying to London to study abroad in 2014.

“He mentioned to me once how few Black students study abroad in college because of the lack of financing,” Bergeron said. “This always stuck with me and was the reason we ultimately chose to give the funds to Black students with financial need to fund Elon Experiences.”

Jeter’s love for travel, experiences, and the people he met along the way was contagious. Those who knew him say that he had a special knack for making others feel like the most important person in the room. “To know Jordan was to love Jordan,” Bednar explained.

Bednar met Jeter much earlier than his other Elon friends because they both lived in the same neighborhood, and Bednar ended up being instrumental in helping spread the news of the GoFundMe page to Jeter’s high school friends.

The news of Jeter’s passing spread quickly, but so did the outpouring of love from his friends from all over the world.

Jordan Bednar ’17 and Jordan Jeter ’16, friends since high school, pose for a photo.

“The unanimous sentiment among his friends at the time of his passing was, ‘What can we do?’ We were at a loss. It was alarming, but we wanted to do something,” said Malburg.

Gaffey quickly started work on creating a GoFundMe page and was in communication with Malburg and Bednar. “The GoFundMe was important to us, not only for supporting his family financially, but it also was a place for people to share memories, photos and more,” Gaffey said.

While he was creating the page, Gaffey was also boarding a plane on his way to support Jeter’s family before the funeral. “It was a three-hour flight, and we launched the GoFundMe page while I was in the air. By the end of my flight, the page had already raised around $25,000. Soon after that, we crossed the $50,000 mark, and by the time of the funeral everything, was announced in his honor,” said Gaffey. In just a week, Jordan’s friends raised $76,175 from 733 gifts.

Mark Malburg ’18 and Jordan Jeter ’16 pose for a photo together.

“It was such a visual of how many people he impacted and it was just a beautiful outpouring of love and support,” Bednar said.

Bergeron was shocked by how many people attended her son’s funeral. “The church was filled. So many people came up to me and said, ‘I thought I was Jordan’s best friend’, but I’m finding out he had many,” she said, laughing.

Jeter loved experiencing life to its fullest. He loved soccer, attending live events like concerts and art exhibits, and he truly loved Elon. He also loved giving back and helping people. While at Elon, he was very involved with his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, an Epsilon Alpha Chapter Fraternity, and he also spent time volunteering. He was passionate about participating in the Boys and Girls Club, reading and tutoring elementary school students in his spare time.

He was involved as a board member for SwingPals, an organization that supports kids facing social and economic adversity through the game of golf by teaching them mindfulness and self-regulation skills. This organization also created a scholarship in Jeter’s honor because of his dedication to its work. To date, SwingPals has given out five scholarships through the fund.

Jordan Jeter ’16 poses with his brothers from Pi Kappa Phi for a photo in front of Alamance before attending the 2014 Tri-Sigma spring formal.

Jeter’s personality was contagious. In appreciation of the positive energy that Jeter brought to the ezCater team, the company implemented an employee award program in Jeter’s honor and called the “Joydan Award.” The $1,000 award is given to employees who bring positivity to the workplace with the direction that they can spend the money on whatever brings them joy.

Jeter has left a legacy at Elon through his remarkable personality and contagious spirit, one that lives on through his classmates, friends and family. Now future students will continue to be impacted by his life by the newly endowed scholarship, all thanks to the generosity of the many that gave to make it a reality.

Anyone wishing to contribute to Jordan Jeter ’16 Elon Experiences Scholarship fund may do so at any time by clicking here and selecting “other” as the designation on the giving form, then typing the name of the scholarship into the form, “Jordan Jeter ’16 Elon Experiences Scholarship”. You may also give on Venmo @ElonGiving, with a note that you want your gift to go to his scholarship.