Alumni of the Year 2012: Paul A. and Sylvia M. Jones
Paul Jones, Ph.D was recently named Interim President at Georgia College & State University. He will serve in this position until the permanent President arrives in September. In addition to his appointment as Interim President, he serves as the Vice President for Administration and Operations. In this role he is responsible for the University's fiscal, human, and physical resources. This includes oversight of the Departments of Budget and Payroll Services, Accounting Services, Auxiliary Services, Human Resources and Employee Relations, Plant Operations, Purchasing, Printing Services, Mail Services, Public Safety, and Emergency Preparedness and Occupational Safety.
Dr. Jones has served at Georgia College for ten years. He previously served as Vice President and Chief of Staff, Vice President for Institutional Research and Enrollment Management and has served in several interim roles including, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculties, Vice President of Business and Finance, and Assistant to the President. He also holds the position of Professor of Educational Administration at Georgia College.
His career spans over 26 years in higher education in Georgia, Colorado, Utah, and Maryland. In 2007, Dr. Jones was named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow, the nation's premier higher education leadership program and served at the University of West Florida.
Dr. Jones was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, attended Utah State University (USU) on a football scholarship and participated in track and field. He says that his experience at USU was a life changing experience. "USU is a magical place. When I arrived over 30 years ago, I instantly fell in love with the picturesque campus, but I worried that I would not make it socially and academically. I contemplated transferring on a couple of occasions my freshman year. I am so pleased that I was patient and listened to friends and coaches and did not give up. USU was the best thing that could have happened to me. It (USU) took an inner-city kid who was 'rough around the edges' and helped develop him personally, spiritually, and intellectually."
Dr. Jones holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education and Human Resource Studies with a concentration in Educational Leadership from Colorado State University. He earned both a bachelor's degree in Speech ('86) and a master's degree in the Interdisciplinary Program ('89) from Utah State University. Dr. Jones serves on numerous committees and civic boards and is a member of the Downtown Macon Rotary and the Goodwill Middle Georgia and CSRA Board of Directors.
Dr. Jones and his wife Sylvia ('87) reside in Macon, Georgia. Both children, Isaiah and Daphne, are currently students at Utah State University.
Sylvia Jones has worked in the financial education industry for the past twenty years. She served as Director of Financial Aid and Interim Dean of Enrollment at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO (now Colorado Mesa University) as well as Director of Financial Aid at Wesleyan College in Macon, GA. In her role as financial aid director she was responsible for developing policy and procedures that insured college compliance of all federal, state and institutional student aid funding and delivery of those funds to the student body. In 2006, she began working for the Student Loan Corporation a division of Citibank, where she remained until recently accepting the position as an Assistant Vice President-Account Executive in the Education Financial Services division at Wells Fargo Bank N.A.
In her current role as Assistant Vice President, she manages and consults with colleges and universities throughout the Southeast Region of the United States. Her primary role is to oversee the management of Wells Fargo education financial products and services to school clients. She is the primary point of contact for day-to-day consulting, operational support and client relationship management with ultimate responsibility for issue resolution and overall client satisfaction.
Sylvia is involved in many regional and state higher education organizations. She served as the state Secretary for the Colorado Association of Financial Aid Administrators; she currently serves on the Georgia Association of Financial Aid Administrators Professional Development Committee, the Georgia Financial Aid Association Strategic Planning Committee and South Carolina and Georgia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Diversity Committees. She has also conducted professional development presentations as well as financial education presentations at both the regional and state levels.
Sylvia says she really enjoys working in the financial education arena. Every year she spends many volunteer hours in her community conducting presentations at high schools as well as working with several students and parents as they navigate through the admissions and financial aid process. Sylvia says the college financial aid process can be daunting and overwhelming for many first generation families; "I do my best to help guide them through the process".
Sylvia is originally from San Antonio, TX however, growing up as a military brat she lived overseas for most of her junior high and high school years. During the middle of her junior year of high school her father was transferred to Salt Lake City (Ft. Douglas). Once they settled in the Salt Lake City community she begin to hear about Utah State University (USU) so she did a little research. "Once I saw the campus, I knew in that moment that's where I wanted to attend college".
I am a proud alum and proud to be an aggie. I really appreciate my experience both in and out of the classroom. I was involved in numerous activities at USU. Some of my fondest memories are being a member of the USU Gospel Choir which is an idea that Paul and I discussed as students and decided "why not"? With the support of the USU administration (Dr. Val Christiansen, Gary Chambers, the late Clifton Wilkes, Dr. Ross Peterson and many others) we began the USU Voices of Praise Gospel Choir. "What an experience"!
Sylvia and husband Paul are involved in many philanthropic activities. Some of these activities include Rotary Club meals for families, Scholarships for disadvantaged students pursuing study aboard, established an African American Student Leadership Scholarship at USU and support for the Goodwill Industries Foundation.
Sylvia holds a BA in Economics from Utah State and an MBA from Western State College in Gunnison, CO.
Additional Information about the kids:
Both are student athletes
Isaiah son - A senior majoring in Exercise Science
Daphne - A junior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Biology