For the third time in the 107-year history of the University of Arkansas at Monticello and the first since 1959, UAM will bestow an honorary doctorate during the school’s 2016 spring commencement May 6.
Jay Jones, who has served as UAM’s vice chancellor for finance and administration since 2006 and guided the institution as interim chancellor in 2015, will receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters for “exemplary leadership and service, not only in the profession but to society in general,” according to UAM Chancellor Karla Hughes.
“Jay did a wonderful job in making the leadership transition a seamless one,” said Hughes. “He was able to lead the university with a steady hand through the search for a new chancellor. Due to the unique challenges faced by Mr. Jones during this critical time, both (UA System President) Donald Bobbitt and I believe this is an appropriate honor.”
In addition to spending a year as interim chancellor, Jones has currently assumed the role of interim vice chancellor for advancement and university relations while also serving as the university’s chief fiscal officer. “Jay is one of those individuals who is willing to take on any assignment for the good of the university,” said Hughes. “We are fortunate to have Jay as part of our leadership team.”
“I’m not sure this is an honor I deserve,” said Jones, “and to be selected is both surprising and humbling. I am grateful to Chancellor Hughes, President Bobbitt and to the Board of Trustees for this recognition.”
According to University of Arkansas policy, “recommendations for honorary degrees will be submitted to the Board of Trustees by the President after having been approved by the campus governing body and the chief executive officer of the campus on which the recommendations originate.”
A native of Helena, Jones holds an associate of applied science degree in data processing from Phillips County Community College (now Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas) in Helena and earned a bachelor of business administration degree from Northeast Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana-Monroe) in 1986. He began his professional career as an accountant for a Monroe accounting firm and became a certified public accountant in 1989.
In January 1991, he joined the PCCUA staff as controller and became vice chancellor for finance in March 1993, a position he held until July 2001.
Jones left PCCUA to become vice president for finance at the Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tenn., before coming to UAM in 2006.
Jones was the 2015 Drew County Man of the Year, the 2015 Arkansas Baptist Father of the Year, received the PCCUA Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2011, and is a current member of the board of directors of Economics Arkansas. He was named UAM Administrator of the Year in 2015 by the university chapter of Alpha Chi national collegiate honor society.
He also served on the board of directors of the Memphis Union Mission, the board of directors of the Arkansas Higher Education Consortium, and is a former treasurer for the city of West Helena. Active in the First Baptist Church of Monticello, Jones has served as chair of the finance and capital campaign committees, is a former member of a committee to redraft the church constitution, and is a member of the administrative leadership team.