FVSU Unveils New Campus Amphitheater and Announces First Endowed Professorship

by Mechell McCrary

Posted on Apr 20, 2021

By Mechell Clark McCrary

Fort Valley State University proudly announced it has received an endowment gift from the Jones family. Made up of generations of FVSU alumni including husband and wife, Dr. Alonzo E. Jones, Sr. and Kathy R. Jones-Jones of Columbus, Ga., the family has generously gifted their alma mater a total of $700,000 since 2017. During a ribbon cutting ceremony, FVSU President Paul Jones announced the naming of the newly constructed Christine and Willie C. Jones Amphitheater.

The name honors the late parents of Dr. Alonzo Jones who despite humble beginnings in Ellaville, Ga., had eight of their 13 children graduate from FVSU to become successful physicians and business professionals. In addition to the amphitheater naming, ceremonies also included the surprise announcement of the new Dr. Alma Jones Endowed Professorship of Social Justice. Dr. Alma Jones was the first of the eight siblings to attend FVSU. A former FVSU faculty member, she specialized in internal medicine and has been an advocate for underserved populations ensuring those at-risk have access to healthcare. The endowed professorship is the first in the school's history.

"In reflecting on the significant impact of the Jones family's philanthropy, it is quite the honor for our university to be on the receiving end of such generosity," said Dr. Paul Jones, president of FVSU. "This endowment literally cements the legacy of this great family in FVSU history and is a testament to the outstanding accomplishments of our alumni."

The ribbon cutting ceremony celebrated years of support from the Jones family highlighting their commitment to education, healthcare and social justice. Their giving since 2017 is one of the largest total contributions from a single alumni family in FVSU history.

"The Jones family brings a consistent history of generous and far reaching support of our institution," said Dr. Anthony Holloman, vice president of University Advancement. "Their giving includes the potential to better the lives of our students and ultimately our community at large."

The Christine and Willie C. Jones Amphitheater is prominently located at the center of the FVSU campus. The open-air venue has capacity to accommodate 600 and will serve as a place for student and community events.

The family's legacy at FVSU consists of multiple generations of graduates across five decades including grandchildren of Christine and Willie C. Jones. The Honorable Calvin Smyre, Georgia State Representative and FVSU alumnus was among the dignitaries in attendance during today's ceremony.

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