Alumni Spotlight: Eugene “Bruiser” Jones

September 6, 2013 – This week, Fort Valley State University honors Eugene “Bruiser” Jones, a strong supporter of Fort Valley State University. Jones, a 1957 FVSU alum, died last week, on August 28. He was 82 years old.

Jones was a Tuskegee, Ala. native. As a young child, his family moved to Atlanta where he was educated in his formative years. In his teen years, he enrolled at FVSU and majored in education.

My father believed that FVSU was heaven,” said Mabel Jones-Allen, his daughter. “He wanted everyone to have a taste of what heaven was like.”

As an FVSU student, Jones-Allen says that her father was about to drop out because of financial concerns.

“He was extremely poor and didn’t have a lot,” she continued. “But, he and the president at the time, Dr. C. V. Troup, were very close. He told President Troup that he wanted to leave school, but Dr. Troup said he couldn’t drop out, he had to finish college. Dr. Troup helped him financially to stay in school, and he became his mentor.”

In 1956, Jones graduated with his bachelor’s degree; then attended the University of Georgia, where he earned his master’s in education. Because of his close relationship with Troup, Jones became a passionate supporter of education and Fort Valley State.

“He would always, from that point onward, have a close relationship with Dr. Troup,” said Jones-Allen. “Dr. Troup was like a grandfather, because he and my father were so connected. My father said that he owed his success to Dr. Troup. Until his dying day, my father made sure that black children and black men had the chance to go to school—toFVSU, first, of course.” Jones-Allen said.

Jones was hired as a social worker for Atlanta Public Schools. Later, he took additional jobs at Emory University and the post office, sorting mail in order to help pay for the tuition of FVSU students.

“Since the time his children were born, he was working two jobs,” said Jones-Allen. “He was always very resourceful. He worked very hard and for the children he helped to attend FVSU. We are the benefactors of his hard work.”

The tireless worker earned the respect of students, co-workers and administrators. He quickly rose through the ranks and was hired as Roosevelt High School’s assistant principal. Later, Jones was hired as the principal for Jessie May Jones Elementary School. In 1992, the beloved, dedicated educator retired from his educational leadership position in the Atlanta public school system.

Because of Jones’ efforts, more than 2,000 students enrolled at FVSU. He would personally finance students’ trips down to FVSU. He would also cover students’ admission fees, and brought them back to the university in the summer. When he could not bring them, Jones would have one his children drive them down to the campus.

“My father believed that each child could be educated and that as human beings we needed to make it happen,” said Jones-Allen. “So, whether it was our family, or someone else, he was really serious about it. He was going to make that happen.”

For more than 40 years, Jones served as a member of the FVSU Metro Atlanta Alumni Chapter.

The respected leader was elected president of the metro Atlanta Chapter four times. Additionally, Jones worked as a strong recruiter and fundraiser for FVSU. The educator recruited more than 2,000 students for the school. During 100 fundraising initiatives, Jones raised more than $10,100.

Jones also used his own birthday parties as an opportunity to raise money for the school. During occasions where he should have received presents, Jones asked invitees at his party to make a generous donation on behalf of students to the FVSU Foundation, Inc. Jones also donated more than $15,920.

The respected Wildcat is survived by three children, two adopted children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Two sons and two granddaughters attended FVSU: Ralph M. Jones ’87, Eugene R. Jones Jr. ’86, Ronda M. Allen and Ellen Amanda Jones, both 2012 alumna.

Jones challenged fellow alums to support FVSU. He would often say, “If you can’t give $1,000 to your alma mater, then you need to give back your degree.”

Services for Jones were held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3 at the Cascade United Methodist Church, 3144 Cascade Road, Atlanta Ga. Condolences may be sent to 2771 Collier Dr., Atlanta, Ga. 30318.

In lieu of flowers, the family asked that contributions be sent to FVSU in his honor. Mail donations to the FVSU Foundation, Inc., 1005 University Drive, Fort Valley, Ga. 31030.
Read more about Eugene Jones in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: