Marine vet flags down graduation

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Most University of Iowa students don’t display 5,000 flags to stand on the Pentacrest.

But for Jordan Horton, a graduating business-analytics major and Marine Corps veteran, the opportunity to connect with veterans on campus seemed natural and fulfilling, he said.

Horton will receive the year’s most outstanding student veteran award.

Horton served in the Marines for five years and was deployed to Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012, earning the rank of corporal. His father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and his four cousins served in the Marines as well, but Horton is the first in his family to go to college.

“I feel very blessed and excited to be graduating. I feel like I’m setting myself up for success and am being a good role model for my siblings,” Horton said.

Horton will also receive the Center for Diversity and Enrichment’s graduation reception student leadership award for his work with veterans on campus. Travis Arment, the staff adviser for the UI Veterans Association, said Horton left a legacy and set a precedent, specifically with his work with the flags on the Pentacrest.

For Veteran’s Day, Horton organized a book for the week’s event that named veterans on the flags, including those associated with the UI, those who are missing in action, killed in action, and those actively serving.

“We got emails of stories from people all over the country. It touched people’s hearts to know that someone is thinking of them,” Arment said. “This is his legacy he will leave people.”

Horton’s spouse, Lindsay Horton, said she encouraged him to attend the UI once he left the Marines; she was attending school here.

“He thought college would just be getting a degree so he could work behind a desk. It has been well worth it to see him finish his time at the UI,” she said, noting that he has excelled in his business classes.

The Hortons will move to Minnesota to work at competing business firms.

“We’re both competitive people, so the rivalry should be fun,” Lindsay Horton said.

Jordan Horton was an electrician on his military base in Joliet, Illinois, but he injured his shoulder during his service. When he came to the UI, he asked his academic counselor what would offer a high job-placement rate. Horton said the counselor suggested business analytics, and he followed the advice.

“I wanted something that was going to pay well and provide for my family,” he said. “I didn’t want to be working a manual labor job for the rest of my life.”

Arment said Horton’s skills have been an asset to the Veterans Association. He said Horton also implemented a card-reader system at the location that scans IDs and helps determine how much foot traffic comes through the building.

“Every single [student] comes with some sort of expertise, and they’re uniquely made,” Arment said. “I really try to get to who are they and what they’re about and see what it is they’re trying to get out of college.

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