James F. Jones, Jr. retired as Trinity's 21st president on June 30, 2014.
Since assuming his role as the 21st president of Trinity College on July 1, 2004, President James F. Jones, Jr., brought his foresight and experience to the College and established himself as an energetic and inspiring leader.
A figure well-known on campus to students and faculty alike, Jones considers his career in academia to be the natural extension of a life-long pursuit of knowledge. Devoted to the classroom, he managed to teach at least one course a year, in spite of his remarkably busy schedule. For those, as he likes to put it, who have “chalk dust on the sleeves of their souls,” there is no greater joy than engaging with young minds.
As an administrator, President Jones was forthright and proactive. Upon taking office, he launched a comprehensive, College-wide planning effort. The Cornerstone project established an ongoing process for annual planning in a range of areas and was designed to encourage all members of the campus community to consider new avenues for strategic planning. The Cornerstone plan focused Trinity’s attention on its academic mission, reaffirming its commitment to urban and global engagements. Perhaps President Jones’s most impressive accomplishment as the College’s chief executive has been to assemble a leadership team that is as dynamic and accomplished as any in the history of the College.
A tireless ambassador for Trinity, Jones traveled regularly to meet with alumni and other friends of the College. During his tenure, alumni and parent donor participation rates were among the highest in the nation.
Prior to Trinity, Jones served as president and professor of humanities at Kalamazoo College, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Before that, he was at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Texas, as professor of the humanities, dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and vice provost of the university. Earlier, he served as professor of Romance languages and literatures, director of the Summer Language Institute in France, and chair of the department at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, and as preceptor for the Department of French and Romance Philology at Columbia University.
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Jones has superb academic credentials. After graduating cum laude from the University of Virginia, Jones earned his master’s degree at Emory University and did doctorate work at Columbia University, earning both an M. Phil. and a Ph.D. He also holds a Certificat, Degré Avancé, from the Ecole des Professeurs de Français à l'Etranger, the Sorbonne. His publications include Rousseau's Dialogues: An Interpretive Essay; The Story of a Fair Greek of Yesteryear, a translation into English of L'Histoire d'une Grecque moderne by Antoine-François Prévost; and La Nouvelle Héloïse: Rousseau and Utopia, along with more than two dozen scholarly articles. Jones has received numerous awards for his community alliances and scholarly and cultural achievements on both sides of the Atlantic, including Chevalier, Ordre des Palmes Académiques by Declaration of the French Government. He maintains positions on numerous boards, with directorships and trusteeships on select educational and cultural committees, currently including the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE), the Centre d'Echanges Internationaux, Paris, and the Rassias Foundation at Dartmouth College.