Fariborz Maseeh holds a doctorate degree in engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He founded IntelliSense software -- which streamlined the field of micro-electro mechanical systems -- serves on advisory boards including the MIT School of Engineering and Viterbi School of Engineering at USC, and is a powerful advocate for charities in educational and health fields.
Remarkably, Maseeh says he owes much of his success to Samuel M. Jordan, a Hopewell Township native.
In the early 1900s, Jordan worked as a missionary in Iran, where he founded an elementary school and helped it grow to become a prestigious college Maseeh later attended.
Although Maseeh was born long after Jordan died, he said he and other educated Iranians have benefited from Jordan's legacy.
That came as news to Jordan's descendants, including Kathryn Brown Jordan of Hopewell Township. Her late husband, Fred Jordan, was Samuel M. Jordan's nephew.
Last week, Maseeh -- who lives in Newport Beach, Calif. -- and two of his associates were at Kathryn Jordan's home to learn more about Jordan and to collect some of his belongings, including documents and scrapbooks that will be displayed in a memorial.
During the trip, Kathryn Jordan, 90, took Maseeh to Centre Presbyterian Church in Fawn Township, where Jordan was ordained as a minister in the late 1800s.
In addition to seeing the church, Kathryn Jordan also took Maseeh to Jordan's gravesite. Maseeh was teary-eyed when he talked of that experience.
"It's hard to describe . . . just emotional," Maseeh said.
"(Samuel Jordan) is a very larger-than-life character for educated Iranians," Maseeh said. "He as an American dedicated almost his entire adult life to educating, nurturing and teaching Iranians. . . . That to me is the biggest act of generosity.
"That's why he is very important to me," Maseeh said. "He should be recognized for what he has done in my culture.
In 2005, Maseeh founded the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies at University of California at Irvine.
He also said he might be interested in helping the Stewartstown Historical Society with a memorial for Jordan.
Kathryn Jordan, a former librarian who is active with the historical society, said she knew of Jordan's missionary work but had no idea he was held in such high esteem by modern-day Iranians.
"I'm amazed," she said of her husband's uncle, whom the family called Uncle Mart. "I never dreamed there would be a foundation established in his name. . . . This is so new."
To learn more about the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at the University of California at Irvine's School of Humanities, visit www.humanities.uci.edu/persianstudies.
- Samuel M. Jordan was ordained at Centre Presbyterian Church. Read more about the New Park church at York Town Square blog.