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UCSB basketball game.

A Gilded Opportunity

The Jordanos add a legacy gift to their 40 years of philanthropy

One of the most anticipated nights for UC Santa Barbara Athletics is its coveted Golden Eagle Awards, which recognize the highest academic achievements among student-athletes. The annual event was established by the generous support of UC Santa Barbara Foundation Trustee Peter Jordano and his wife, Gerd. Pete and Gerd are longtime philanthropists whose ongoing support of UCSB Athletics inspires student-athletes to be their best selves.

Pete and Gerd founded the Golden Eagle Awards in 1987, motivated by similar awards sponsored by food and beverage companies. Pete has served as president and CEO of the distributor Jordano’s, Inc., for 40 years. As a local businessman, he values giving back to the community. The Golden Eagle Awards honor the student-athlete from each program who has the highest cumulative grade-point average above 3.25 and exhibits citizenship and integrity.

Pete and Gerd Jordano.
Pete and Gerd Jordano

“It is very tough to play sports and to get good grades, yet the graduation rate for UCSB Athletics is higher than the overall university,” said Pete. “It’s a real feel-good thing to be part of that.”

A trustee of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation since 1983, Pete has seen many generations of student-athletes succeed, like the recent mayoral candidate who Pete knew as a UCSB Rugby player 50 years ago. The Jordanos were very involved in the 1984 Olympics, whose rowing and canoeing races took place at Lake Casitas. Pete presided as honorary mayor of the UC Santa Barbara Olympic village.

“I’m extremely proud of UC Santa Barbara for being a top ten public university,” said Pete, “and I love sports and education. UCSB Athletics is the perfect fit.”

“We've always been passionate about this amazing university in our community,” Gerd added.

The Jordanos have cheered for UCSB student-athletes from the sidelines of many games — especially basketball. The Jordanos recently expanded their support of UCSB Athletics with a legacy gift to UCSB Men’s Basketball. Pete advises those who can to consider giving their required minimum distribution directly to UC Santa Barbara.

“Pete and Gerd Jordano have been instrumental members of our Gaucho family for many years,” said John McCutcheon, director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “This is highlighted by their support of the athletic academic award ceremony, the Golden Eagle Awards, for over 40 years. This long-term support illustrates their commitment to the success of our student-athletes not just on the field of play, but more importantly, in the classroom. To have our coaches and student-athletes see this long term support and now the generous planned gift commitment motivates them to excel both academically and athletically.”

“We really feel so blessed that we can give at a level that we're giving,” said Gerd. “How can you not feel good about it? It's helping the university help the students.”