October 1, 2013 – A Fort Valley State University alum recently took the helm of a leading, prestigious northeastern state university. Dr. Robert J. Jones, who earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State University, was formally inaugurated as president of the State University of New York – The University of Albany at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 in the Main Theatre, Performing Arts Center on the SUNY-Albany Uptown Campus in Albany, NY.
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating approximately 468,000 in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses.
SUNY-Albany’s new president is a proud Wildcat. In 2008, at the 58th Honors Convocation, Jones thanked FVSU professors for his success and pledged a substantial contribution to his alma mater’s scholarship fund.
“I love this place, and I know [Fort Valley State University] makes a tremendous contribution in helping to produce quality students,” he said before a crowd of students and faculty members, five years ago. “I want to do my small part to help.”
SUNY-Albany’s new leader has a long, impressive record in scholarship and educational leadership, plant physiology, urban and international development. The Dawson, Ga. native has served as the senior vice president for academic administration at the University of Minnesota System since 2004.
In addition to attending Fort Valley State, Jones earned his master of science degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia and a doctorate in crop physiology from the University of Missouri, Columbia. After graduating from Mizzou, Jones joined the University of Minnesota’s faculty as a professor of agronomy and plant genetics.
Jones is a fellow of both the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. He is a visiting professor and featured speaker in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
The leader holds a gubernatorial appointment as the Midwestern Higher Education Compact commissioner. He also serves on the board of directors for the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities, the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, and the Bush Foundation, among other leadership roles. Jones is also a member of the Grammy award-winning group “The Sounds of Blackness.”
He is married to Dr. Lynn Hassan Jones, and has five children and two grandchildren.
Christina D. Milton, writer
Fort Valley State University
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