Friends and family of Dr. W. Terrell Jones came to the Albright-Bethune United Methodist Church on Aug. 23 to remember the life of a remarkable man who was taken away too soon.
I worked with Dr. Jones on many occasions and considered him not only a colleague and a trusted friend but also the very best of what “diversity” means at Penn State. Starting in 1998, I ran a service learning course in a poor black neighborhood of west Philadelphia.
It was an expensive course to run, as we supported students for the summer while they lived and worked in the neighborhood.
In the early years when I spent much of my time worrying about financing, Dr. Jones invited me to his office.
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He said he thought the project was important, and he wanted me to concern myself with the learning objectives of the course and the safety of the students. He said he would worry about funds.
Every year after, he funded the project out of his office budget. Every summer, he visited the students and paid great attention to their work and made suggestions on how they might improve their research. He got to know my community partners in West Philadelphia on a personal level and was in regular email contact with them.
Everyone involved — students, community and myself — welcomed and cherished his involvement.
When it came to diversity, Dr. Jones did not simply talk the talk; he walked the walk. He will be greatly missed.