If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Jordan Wiest, you know his big bright smile, deep laugh, and giant bear hugs. Originally from the small town of Rush River, Minnesota, just 15 miles from Saint Peter, Jordan Wiest is a senior history major.
He was not originally planning on majoring in history, but after taking Premodern East Asia with Associate Professor in History, Environmental Studies, and Japanese Studies David Obermiller, Jordan found his place.
“He came to Gustavus thinking about a pre-med track or STEM, but these courses nurtured his existing historical knowledge to a degree that he found his calling as a history major,” Obermiller said.
Jordan has spread his involvements across multiple groups on-campus, as many overcommitted Gusties do. He is in LineUs Improv Comedy Troupe, has been involved with Student Senate and Gustavus Ambassadors, is an Academic Assistant in the History Department, plays tuba in The Gustavus Wind Orchestra, and is a Gustie Greeter.
Daniel Lee was a graduate in the class of 2016, and over the years has become a close friend to Jordan.
“I would describe Jordan as one of the most selfless individuals I have ever met. He consistently supports his friends in every way possible from simply making it a point to say ‘hello’ and ask ‘how are you’ to sitting down for multiple hours and being one of the most extraordinary listeners around campus,” Lee said.
Lee and Jordan have had many fun memories together, but one memory Lee has was when they both took a 300 level history course, when he was a junior and Jordan was a sophomore.
“We were writing our final paper, and Jordan and I had classically procrastinated and we didn’t leave each other’s hip for the last 72 hours of school while writing our papers,” Lee said. “I believe over those three days we had about four hours of sleep, we got kicked out of Beck every night, and continued our nights at each other’s dorms. We must have eaten six or seven Domino’s pizzas and had several dance breaks to give our minds a break. The last night, it was 4 AM and we finished our papers and decided to go for a celebratory walk around Gustavus. On this walk we talked about everything from our goals to our insecurities to our worst jokes. Jordan has supported me more times than I can count, and I am forever thankful for his generosity and goofiness.”
One of the biggest lessons Jordan has learned over his four years at Gustavus is to focus on the journey rather than the destination.
“We get so worked up about how it’s going to end, and what it’s going to look like. But really, this moment is the only moment we’re going to have. Sometimes we forget that,” Jordan said.
By living in the moment, Jordan often takes the time out of his day to sit down and chat with those he doesn’t know well just to learn a little bit about their lives.
“Jordan is an amazing Gustie because he makes people feel loved and brings them into the Gustavus family. No matter what your background is, where you’re from or what you do, Jordan is able to make you feel like you’ve been friends since you both were in elementary school,” Lee said.
For those who know him, it is not hard to pinpoint all of the things that make Jordan a great person, and a great Gustie.
“If there is something I wish everyone could know about Jordan it’s his loyalty to his friends. If you become friends with him (which is one of the easiest things to do in life), you have a friend for life who will stand by your side in any situation no matter how many times you personally mess up or feel defeated; his love has no bias and his care, no limits. He is as genuine as they come, and I am blessed to call him a best friend,” Lee said.
Not only do his friends recognize all of the positive characteristics that make Jordan a great person, but so do his professors.
“He’s gregarious, caring, and intellectually curious. He’s curious about academic content, but also about the world, other people, other experiences, and it doesn’t matter too much if a topic or even if you are not that interesting. Jordan still finds you interesting, or finds things that are interesting about you,” Visiting Assistant Professor, Latin America in History Scott Ickes said.
Over his four years at Gustavus, Jordan is especially thankful for all of the connections he has made with other Gusties.
“You never know when you are going to one of your closest friends, and under what circumstances,” Jordan said. “It’s always a special surprise when at Gustavus you can meet friends from all different backgrounds, and places you would never expect.”
After graduation, Jordan plans to move to Germany to be with his fiancé. He will have a three year apprenticeship in carpentry, and after plans to come back to history, possibly attending graduate school in the future. Jordan wanted to remind every Gusties, “Don’t forget to have fun, be mischievous, and cherish times you have with special people because they go fast.”