Finding the perfect path

April 3, 2024 by Erica Techo

Portrait of Jakhari Gordon in the Terry College Coca Cola Plaza.

Third-year student finds opportunity, community on campus

Jakhari Gordon visited nearly a dozen college campuses during his senior year of high school. His last visit was to the University of Georgia.

“When I got to the hotel that night, I didn’t think, ‘Could I go here?’ I thought of me riding the buses, going to classes,” Gordon said. “I could see myself there, and that stuck with me.”

After that, things fell into place.

Gordon was accepted to UGA, and one week later he received the prestigious Gates Scholarship, which covers the full cost of attendance to any four-year degree program in the country. His decision was made—he was going to UGA.

The transition had its challenges, however. Moving from his family home in the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) area meant moving away from loved ones and finding his place in a new community. But Gordon also saw it as an opportunity for personal growth.

“Obviously my parents are very supportive of me, and they are my reason for doing this,” he said. “I wanted to show them that all of those years of my mom and godmother sacrificing and making me the best person I could be … that I could become the man they always wanted me to be.”

He quickly excelled and became involved around campus. As a student in the Georgia African American Male Experience (GAAME) Scholars Program, he has not only received support but also gives back to younger students.

He also participates in the UGA Mentor Program, which connected him with faculty, staff and alumni in the UGA community, and is chapter president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the oldest intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African American men.

“Those organizations and opportunities have gone on to shape who I am in college,” Gordon said. “I don’t think I would be the man I am today without joining my fraternity and being able to interact with so many influential, important and goal-driven Black men.”