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First Southern Miss African-American Student-Athlete Wilbert Jordan Dies

Wilbert Jordan

Wilbert Jordan

March 15, 2013

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Wilbert Jordan, a former Southern Miss basketball letterman, died last night at the age of 62.

Jordan was the first African-American to play and earn a scholarship at Southern Miss.

From Waynesboro, Miss., he walked-on his freshman season before gaining a scholarship for his final three seasons. He enrolled in the fall of 1968 and was recruited and coached by the late Lee Floyd.

He went on to earn his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science from Southern Miss in Biology, and then earned his law degree from LSU.

At the time of his death, he was a practicing attorney in the Jordan Law Firm where he concentrated in environmental matters involving civil, criminal, regulatory and technical issues.

He was a former Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, where he headed the Office of Environmental Assessment which included the Air Quality Division, Water Quality Division, Remediation Service Division, Environmental Technology Division, Underground Storage Division and Laboratory Service Division with approximately 300 employees and a $40,000,000 budget.

Wilbert also was involved with Hurricane Katrina and Rita preparations, recovery, sampling, monitoring and environmental data assessment. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) where he represented EPA's Region 6 states (LA, AR, OK, TX, NM).

He was a former Assistant Attorney General, Assistant District Attorney, Assistant City Prosecutor and Judge pro tempore. He also worked as an Environmentalist for Olin Corporation and a Corporate Industrial Hygienist for Ethyl Corporation.

Wilbert is survived by his wife, Ruby, and four adult sons; Wyndell, Laken, Wilbert III, and Taylor and seven grand children. Wilbert's father, Wilbert, Sr., was a legendary educator and civil rights leader in Waynesboro.

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