During the first week in October, School of Education alumnus Paul Jones was inaugurated as the 10th president of Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia. Jones began his education at Utah State on a football scholarship, where he also earned his master’s degree. He moved on to Colorado State University, where he earned his Ph.D. in Education and Human Resource Studies, specializing in Educational Leadership.
Following his formal education, Jones advanced in the field of higher education, working in a variety of positions until being appointed to the role of FVSU president, a role that officially begins on Dec. 15. “College truly gave me an opportunity to explore, and I kind of just stumbled into education,” says Jones. “A major injury I received in college pushed me more towards education, learning and giving back to people.”
Jones’ dissertation, “First Year College Performance: A Study of Home Schooled Graduates and Traditional High School Graduates,” compared college admissions rates between homeschooled children and traditional high school students. Seeing a societal push to homeschool children around that time, he was curious as to whether homeschooling actually affected a student’s performance when transitioning into college. The study looked at the students themselves and assessed their performances, but also surveyed admissions officers to learn their perspectives on the “homeschool versus traditional schooling” debate.
This dissertation was the beginning of Jones’ three decades of working to help students in higher education find their best fit in transitioning from high school. “The importance of the work that [prospective educators] do can’t be taken lightly,” he says. “We need great educators in the field, and sometimes you don’t see the rewards until later, but I know that I am glad that I have been able to impact people’s lives in some way or another [in my work].”
The investiture itself began on Oct. 7, when Jones was inaugurated into office as president of FVSU. It was an emotional event for many, including Jones himself, who gave a heartfelt speech to the students and faculty of FVSU, as well as many of his colleagues. His speech laid a foundation for what Jones will do with his time as president; he also thanked the people and institutions who helped him along his journey. “I just want to thank Colorado State University for the chance it provided me,” says Jones. “I can’t thank them enough for that special opportunity.”
Click here to watch the investiture ceremony in its entirety on YouTube.