Jordan Kirby
Alumni Spring 2024

A Faith Stretching from Bison Hill to the Big Apple

Jordan Bowles Kirby, ’14, followed her values to OBU and then God’s path on to New York City.

Bison Hill and New York City are linked in the life of Jordan Bowles Kirby by the word “massive.”

Obviously, New York City is massive. More than 8.3 million people call it home. However, that’s only part of the equation for the 2014 communications graduate who serves as the chief of staff and senior associate athletic director for strategic initiatives at Fordham University in the Bronx, N.Y.

“The impact OBU had on my life is massive,” she said.

Yet Kirby can take the “massive” and quickly narrow it down to specifics.

A Mentor for Life

“One specific that certainly stands out is the close friendship and mentorship I built with Dr. Vickie Ellis (former OBU professor of communication arts),” Kirby said. “Her presence in my life has been such a gift. She was always so caring, energetic and genuinely invested in me as both a sister in Christ and student.”

Some of Kirby’s favorite moments at OBU can be connected to Ellis’ little corner office at Sarkeys, “whether it was talking about my future or listening to her sing Broadway show tunes,” Kirby said.

As Kirby, a native of Edmond, approached graduation in 2014, Ellis was the one who encouraged her to consider New York City as the “next step” for graduate school.

“While considering this decision, Dr. Ellis accompanied my mom, sister and me to an industry conference I presented at during my senior year,” Kirby said. “Visiting St. John’s University in Queens, New York, with her and my family helped confirm NYC was the right place to go next. Fast forward to nine years later, I met my husband (Steven Kirby) in New York City. We are a part of a deep Christian community, and I have a career I love. I continue to keep in touch with Dr. Ellis to this day, and she even attended my wedding. All these things would not have been possible without Dr. Ellis and OBU.”

Focused Priorities

A lifelong sports fan — specifically the University of Oklahoma sports — Kirby certainly considered spending her college years in Norman.

However, as she neared graduation from Christian Heritage Academy, Kirby did more research. It became clear that OBU aligned with her top priorities for her college experience – smaller class sizes, academics, community and values.

Most sports fans, such as Kirby, are deeply familiar with the term “Monday morning quarterback.” Often, the term is used in reference to criticizing, judging or second-guessing.

However, on a Monday or any other day of the week, Kirby looks back with a great peace that “I definitely made the right decision” by going to OBU.

“It was the college experience I always dreamed of, deep friendships I still cherish to this day,” she said. “It was a season of life in which I was encouraged and able to mature in my relationship with the Lord. The memories of playing club basketball, volleyball and intramural sports, founding the Kappa Phi Beta sorority and social club, Welcome Week, whole milk two mile, etc…all made my years at OBU so special. I was able to grow spiritually, emotionally and academically while at OBU.”

Today, her role at Fordham is vital in shaping the future of their athletic programs and fostering a culture of excellence. With her expertise in sports management, which she earned through a master’s degree from St. John’s University in 2016, Kirby possesses the skills necessary to drive strategic initiatives and propel Fordham’s athletic department to new heights. Her dedication, innovative thinking and leadership qualities have garnered her respect and recognition among her peers and colleagues.

“Shortly after starting graduate school, it was apparent the academics at OBU prepared me well for my post-grad classes and work,” she said. “Without my relationship with Dr. Ellis and her encouragement to move to NYC, I would not have met my husband, my friends and Christian community I so deeply love and my boss I have worked with for many years now, who I met during my graduate studies at St. John’s. It’s fair to say my daily life would look radically different without OBU’s presence.”

More to Life Than a Workday

While her professional achievements are remarkable, Kirby’s commitment to community service is equally inspiring. She was honored with the Ignatian Award for Outstanding Generosity to the Community in Fordham University Athletics. This recognition stands as a testament to Kirby’s unwavering dedication to giving back and making a positive impact beyond the sports arena.

Her involvement as an Advent Food Pantry volunteer, a Redeemer Presbyterian Church Children’s Ministry volunteer, and a Women’s Bible Study leader at Redeemer Presbyterian Church exemplifies her nature and desire to uplift those in need.

Additionally, Kirby is an active volunteer for Part of the Solution (POTS) in the Bronx, New York, where she devotes her time connecting Fordham’s student-athletes and her colleagues to helping individuals and families experiencing homelessness and poverty in their community.

Outside of her professional and community endeavors, Kirby cherishes quality time with her family and friends. Whether exploring the vibrant streets of New York City, embarking on exciting travels, or training for half-marathons, Jordan seeks opportunities for personal growth and adventure.

One of her favorite verses is 1 Thessalonians 4, which says, “…make it your ambition to live a quiet life.”

“I think we can shape the future for Christ by living a life that always glorifies Him over ourselves and our own achievements,” she said. “Living from a heart posture of gratitude for the big and little things in your life each day and aiming to treat everyone you interact with each day as someone that was made in the image of God will make for a great future.”