A 28-year-old single mother of three boys graduated from UCLA with three degrees. A packed house at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion cheered for Deanna Jordan Friday night.
“I needed for my sons to see there was a legacy that preceded them with college. I am the first in my family to go to college,” Jordan said.
Jordan grew up in Compton. After high school, she got pregnant at 18. She had her third son at 22.
“I had him and in the hospital I remember thinking, ‘I’m 22, there’s no future unless I can create one,’” Jordan said.
After two years at West Los Angeles Community College and three-and-a-half years at UCLA, the department scholar is graduating with two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s in African-American Studies.
“She had limited time, plus she took the initiative,” Dale Tatum, a UCLA lecturer, said.
Jordan also founded the Compton Pipeline Taskforce—she and UCLA volunteers work on academics at Compton schools, including Carver Elementary, where she attended.
“I saw the difference in how my boys were in schoolin Brentwood and then how schools were in Compton where I came from,” she said.
Jordan credits family support and UCLA for making her dreams a reality.
“You can’t really succeed unless you fail, and I failed a lot of times, but it was my persistence and my willingness never to give up,” she said.
Jordan, who also works in the Compton mayor’s office, plans to take a year off before she heads to law school. She plans on becoming a district attorney.