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SCHOLARSHIP HONORS CAL U'S ACTING PRESIDENT

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Posted on January 30, 2013

Faculty, staff and alumni at California University of Pennsylvania have established a scholarship in honor of Geraldine M. Jones, Cal U’s first African-American president.

The news came as a surprise to Jones, who first learned about the scholarship when it was announced today at the university’s spring convocation of faculty and staff.

“I had no idea about any of this!” said Jones, whose family was on hand for the announcement. “California University has been a part of my life for 40 years. I can’t tell you how much this has touched my heart. I am so very pleased and honored.”

The effort to create the Geraldine M. Jones Scholarship was led by faculty, staff and students involved in planning for Cal U’s annual Black History Month celebration.

“The goal of the 2013 Black History Month planners is to celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans who belong to our community — Cal U, Washington County and southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Harrison Pinckney, an associate professor in the Parks and Recreation Management program and a co-adviser for the annual celebration. “Rather than looking to national figures, we challenged our student leaders to celebrate their own heroes.

“One name came up repeatedly, so during our planning meetings we began to discuss ways to celebrate President Jones and her role as the first African-American president of Cal U. This is the type of person we want our students to emulate. Ultimately, we decided to establish a scholarship in her honor.”

The scholarship will be awarded annually to a female student of color, with priority given to a student enrolled in the commercial music technology program. The recipient, who must have a grade-point average of at least 3.0, will be eligible to receive $500 per year for three years.

Jones, an accomplished pianist, earned her undergraduate degree in music education at California State College in 1972. She also earned her master’s degree at Cal U.

Jones has been employed at California since 1974, when the institution was a state teachers college. She served as program director for Upward Bound for 20 years and as chair of the Department of Academic Development Services for 11 years. She was associate dean of the College of Education and Human Services for two years before serving as dean from 2000-2008.

In July 2008 she was named provost and vice president for academic affairs, positions she held until being appointed as acting University President in May 2012.