It was a sad day for many Grambling State University Art Department students after learning their administrative assistant would no longer greet them with a smile. To the dismay of many, Jennifer Jones retired Friday, Feb. 18 leaving a vacant seat.”It is my great pleasure to take this opportunity and thank all of the friends I have made at Grambling State University over the last 36 years because all have touched my life and I have enjoyed my work,” said Jones.
Jones has worked under every president at Grambling State University with the exception of the founder, Charles P. Adams. She said she has particularly enjoyed working with the members of the administrative professionals and its president, Windy Calahan, and appreciates the assistance they offer to the support staff.
Jones said her first encounter with a supervisor was when she enrolled at Grambling College and was assigned work study in the Dean of Women’s Office under the supervision of the late Celia Jones who became her mentor.
“We had many conversations after she retired but this one remained with me all of these years. We were talking about the way people treat each other. She said, “People change people and sometimes for the worse, that’s why we must be strong and always pray,” Jones said.
Smiling, Jones recalled Celia saying that she would never stay any place as long as she had. Celia had worked for many years and had endured a great deal and she felt that I would not be able to tolerate such treatment. Looking back to this conversation makes me smile and I believe Celia would be pleasantly surprised to know that she was wrong. I turned out to be more resilient than she thought.
Celia Jones was my friend and what I learned from her was to take your job responsibilities seriously, to listen, to learn, to be patient, to treat people the way you would want to be treated and to stand up for what you believe is right and be prepared to face the consequences. When I entered the workforce I learned that the latter is sometimes harder to do.
I began employment at Grambling State University in the fall of 1974 and was placed in the Department of Housing as a Typist Clerk II under D. C. Hoard. This was my first full time job and it was very demanding. I would say Housing was the most demanding area I have worked in. Although at times challenging, somehow all of the work was completed. Remember, we didn’t have computers or voice mail,” said Jones.
She remained in Housing for 12 years.
In August 1986 Jones transferred to the GSU Foundation Office under Executive Director Roy L. Jackson, as a Clerk IV and remained for three years.
In August 1989 she transferred to the Department of Air Force ROTC as a Secretary II, under Lt. Colonel Ewing L. Collier.
Jones position was later changed to a Secretary III. This was the first academic department Jones worked in.
“The Department of Air Force ROTC was without question the best place I had ever worked,” said Jones. “Here is where some of my greatest friendships were formed and where some of my most cherished professional memories took place.”
Jones remained there for over 15 years, until the detachment’s closure on June 30, 2005.
On Aug. 1, 2005, she was transferred to the Department of Art as an administrative assistant III, under Donna McGee.
“I remember as I walked through the art gallery for the first time, I was taken aback by the astounding artistic talent on display, and even more surprised to find out these works of art were created by our students,” said Jones. “The student art show was on exhibition and to say we have some truly gifted students is an understatement, and I have continued to be amazed at how professional their work is.”
She worked in the Department of Art for five and a half years.
Jones have received numerous phone calls from well wishers who were surprised and happy for her.
“I will miss all of you who I talked with daily or corresponded via e-mail,” Jones explained. “You and the students that I came in contact with were my extended family for the past 36 years. I have many good memories of Grambling State University and they will always remain in my heart. I wish Grambling State University the best and I am confident that even in these difficult times for higher education that we will prevail.”
When asked how her time would be spent now that she has retired, Jones said, “I intend to rest for a while, enjoy visits with my mother as often as I can and visit my family. I believe my former colleague and dear friend Larry Holston Sr., said it best, “It’s been a long time coming.