|J. Joe Adorjan, left, receives the Hungarian Order of Merit-Knight's Cross from György Szapáry, the Hungarian ambassador to the United States. Photo by Kevin Lowder|
J. Joe Adorjan, chairman of the Saint Louis University Board of Trustees, has been awarded the Hungarian Order of Merit - Knight's Cross, Hungary's highest state honor.
The Order of Merit is given to individuals who have provided exceptional service to Hungary and have demonstrated outstanding performance in furthering the interests of the independent democratic nation.
György Szapáry, the Hungarian ambassador to the United States, presented the honor to Adorjan during a special event held on the SLU campus Oct. 15. Supporters of the event include the Adorjan Family Foundation, Centene Corporation, Emerson, the George Herbert Walker Charitable Foundation, Dr. Seung H. Kim, Saint Louis University, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis and Webster University.
"Mr. Adorjan truly deserves this award, and I want to congratulate him and thank him for all that he has done selflessly for Hungary and Hungarians," Szapáry said. "His decades-long support of Hungarian community life in the St. Louis area and beyond, as well as his tireless work to strengthen the ties between the United States and Hungary, are invaluable assets for our country."
The Honorary General Consul of Hungary, Adorjan is the founder of the Hungarian-Missouri Educational Partnership, which links four universities in the state, including SLU, with five universities in Hungary.
The program, founded in 2005, provides opportunities for Hungarian students to study and gain on-the-job experience in the United States. The goal of the program is to enhance the education of emerging leaders who will help create a lasting bond between the two countries.
"Having Ambassador Szapáry come to St. Louis was very special to me, as was receiving this award. More than an individual honor, I feel it is a tribute to all that has been accomplished by everyone who has supported the Hungarian-Missouri Educational Partnership over the years." Adorjan said.
"I also want to thank both the academic, corporate and individual sponsors of the Partnership for their generous contributions. Their support has made it possible for us to offer life-changing experiences for young scholars from Hungary to learn about the U.S. free enterprise system. Prepared with this knowledge, I strongly believe that these students will make a difference for their home country."
Adorjan's long and distinguished career began at Emerson, where he held a variety of management and executive positions, eventually serving as the company's president and vice-chairman of its board of directors.
Adorjan also has served as the chairman and CEO of ESCO Electronics Corp., a spin-off of Emerson, as well as the chairman and CEO of Borg-Warner Security Corp. Currently, he is chairman of Adven Capital, a private equity firm based in Clayton, Mo.
Adorjan has served on the SLU Board of Trustees for more than 26 years and was elected to his third term as chairman in May 2013. Adorjan has given his time and expertise to many other organizations as well, including the United Way of Greater St. Louis, where he currently serves on the board of directors.
Adorjan is a two-time graduate of SLU, having received his bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from the University. An academic building on SLU campus that houses many of the University's liberal arts programs is named in honor of Adorjan and his wife Dianna.
To learn more about the Hungarian-Missouri Educational Partnership, visit http://www.hungary-mo.org.