Home > PUM Women's History Salutes: Geraldine M. Jones, Interim President, California University of Pennsylvania

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PUM Women's History Salutes: Geraldine M. Jones, Interim President, California University of Pennsylvania

“If I do inspire women, particularly the energetic and smart young women I see on our campus every day, I hope I do so because they see that I am a hard-working individual who believes in honest dealings and appreciating others, and having a rich, full personal life.  I like nothing more than when young women meet my husband and family, and they see that while I may be interim president of a great university, I also have a family that I love, and who love me.  Professional accolades and achievements are wonderful, but sharing these things with the wonderful people in my life makes it even more rewarding.” Geraldine M. Jones

 

Geraldine M. Jones was named acting president of California University of Pennsylvania on May 16, 2012. Following a recommendation from the California University Council of Trustees, the PASSHE Board of Governors named her interim president on March 20, 2013.

Ms. Jones graduated from California State College in 1972 and earned her master’s degree at California in 1980.

She began her career in education as a second-grade teacher in the Albert Gallatin School District, in Uniontown, Pa. She returned to California in 1974, serving as program director for Upward Bound for 20 years and as chair of the Department of Academic Development Services for 11 years. She was associate dean of the College of Education and Human Services for two years before serving as dean from 2000-2008.

 In July 2008, she was named provost and vice president for academic affairs, positions she held until being appointed as acting University President.

A member of the Cal U Alumni Association board of directors, Ms. Jones has received numerous honors, including the Cal U Alumni Association's John R. Gregg Award for Loyalty and Service, the Black Alumni Association's Outstanding Service Award, and the Community Service Award given by the Minority Students Association at Penn State Fayette.

In 2010 Ms. Jones was one of 50 ‘Women of Excellence’ honored by the New Pittsburgh Courier, one of the oldest and most prestigious black newspapers in the United States.

Ms. Jones is a lifelong member of Mt. Zion AME Church of Brownsville, Pa., where she has been the church pianist since age 14. She and her husband, Jeffrey B. Jones, have two adult daughters and a granddaughter.

PUM One on One with Geraldine M. Jones, Interim President, California University of Pennsylvania 

PUM: Celebrating Women's History Month what does that mean for you in terms of what you have been able to accomplish in your career?  In your position as one of the few women Presidents of a major university, do you feel we will see more women ascend to these key roles in higher education in the future? 

Jones: Yes, definitely.  Of the 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, six are led by women presidents, which is a great indicator of the strides that women have made in securing key roles in higher education.  In addition, there are many women serving as provosts and deans — two positions that I also held here at Cal U — not only in Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities, but also at colleges and universities across the United States. Frequently, provosts and deans are among those candidates in the running for a university presidency.  So I’d say the future looks very bright for more women ascending to key roles in higher education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PUM: What is your advice and recommendations to women as they break through the glass ceilings in their careers? How were you able to persevere? 

Jones: Work hard, learn all you can, and do your very best, because one never knows when opportunities may present themselves.  Throughout my career, I truly never thought of “glass ceilings,” as I only wanted to do my best at what I loved.  When I started my career as an elementary school teacher, I never expected – or aspired – to be in this role today.  I was taught – and shown – by my parents that a great work ethic and doing my best brings its own rewards.  I’ve tried to live those ideals throughout my career.  And in doing so, I was prepared for whatever came my way. 

PUM: Balancing career and home life, what has worked for you on your path to success?

Jones:   Always remembering where I came from, the people who supported me throughout my life, and that while my career was important to me, it could never be more important than my husband and daughters.  I had to keep a real balance to ensure that I could grow in my career, as well as support my husband’s career and be a mother and nurture our daughters.  And it was reciprocated: I received that same support from my husband and daughters.  Even today, in this role as interim president, my biggest supporters are my husband, daughters Autumn and Courtney, and granddaughter Jurnee, as well as my mother and the rest of my family.  They are going through this journey with me, and I appreciate it all the more because of that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PUM: What are you most proud of as a woman who inspires other women every day?

Jones:  If I do inspire women, particularly the energetic and smart young women I see on our campus every day, I hope I do so because they see that I am a hard-working individual who believes in honest dealings and appreciating others, and having a rich, full personal life.  I like nothing more than when young women meet my husband and family, and they see that while I may be interim president of a great university, I also have a family that I love, and who love me.  Professional accolades and achievements are wonderful, but sharing these things with the wonderful people in my life makes it even more rewarding.

  

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