Missouri Western knows Dr. Jonathan Yordy as a champion of fundraising and as the vice president for University Advancement. However, beyond his many accolades in generating capital for the university, Yordy and his wife are accomplished in many of the fine arts — especially the culinary ones.
The two things that Yordy likes to do most in his ever fleeting free time is to host a get-together among faculty and friends and cook for them. Korean food is the particular interest in the Yordy household, as they love to cook shrimp and Kimchi fried rice.
From the great reviews from other faculty members, it appears that a lot of Yordy’s coworkers like Korean cooking as well — or at least they do now that he has arrived. Director of Development Jerry Pickman is just one of the many coworkers to attend a Yordy family cooking session.
“There is no doubt that he and Jean have a passion for cooking, and they are definitely chefs in their own rite,” Pickman said. “And it always ends up with a great dessert which is my favorite.”
Another faculty member to attend three get-togethers was fellow fundraiser and Director of Athletics, Kurt McGuffin. He, too, had nothing but great things to say about Yordy’s cooking.
“Let me tell you, he and his wife Jean, they know how to put on a party as far as food,” McGuffin said. “The style of the food is unbelievable.”
Yordy doesn’t just have staff and friends over, however. Potential donors and university investors are invited as well.
“All the donors I have talked to,” McGuffin said, “I think they are all fighting to see who gets to go to Yordy’s next.”
Yordy’s passions don’t end with culinary mastery and a truly powerful ability to bring in funds, though. Yordy is also an avid novelist and a songwriter. His writings include the libretto to a full-length opera entitled “O Pioneers!” and a 10-minute opera scene that premiered last November in Carnegie Hall.
“I have written the lyrics to many songs, around a couple hundred,” Yordy said. “I have written the books and lyrics to five musicals, two of which were published and performed.”
If that wasn’t a big enough portfolio, as one walks through his office one may begin to notice the colorful, abstract and very well done multimedia art adorning the walls – he’s also an artist. Using mostly acrylics, swirls of color interact almost playfully with one another across the canvas of his works.
“He is very expressive and I think if you combine the two, with his cooking and with his painting, it’s definitely a way for him to express who he is,” Pickman said.
It begs the question, “Where does all this passion come from?” The answer is a relatively simple one.
“I come from a faculty background, and that is something that I share with all faculty, is the love for learning and the life of the mind,” Yordy said.
With all of that drive in his hobbies, Western can expect truly great things from Yordy in the future when it comes to his greatest endeavors of fundraising, creating beneficial relationships in the community, and sending the Griffon News crew some of that fried rice.