Terrell Jones Memorial Service
Eric Barron Remarks
Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 4-6 p.m.
Pasquerilla Spiritual Center
Good afternoon. I want to add my welcome to Carla, Sara, Courtlyn, and Christopher, as well as Terrell’s many family members, friends and colleagues who have joined us today. I’m honored to celebrate the life of a man who I always admired for his deep commitment to students, his warm and caring personality, and his wonderful sense of humor.
I had the great fortune of working with Terrell when I was previously at Penn State in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. So I was thrilled to see him when I returned to Penn State early this year. The first thing I said was, "Terrell, you haven’t changed a bit." And he responded, "Eric, you haven’t changed a bit either, except you’ve lost your eyesight."
Time and time again, Terrell taught me the important lesson that those who can laugh at themselves will never cease to be amused.
Terrell was truly one of a kind. He was known as a great humanitarian, champion of justice, a teacher, leader and advocate for first generation students. But to his grandchildren, he was known simply as “Old Dude.” Terrell will be profoundly missed, but his legacy is one that has shaped Penn State and had an unparalleled impact on students, their families, communities and the nation.
As an alumnus who spent most of his professional life at Penn State, Terrell was unwavering in his support of our institution. He started his long career at Penn State as a residence hall area coordinator in East Halls in 1980, and became associate director of the Division of Campus Life in 1984. After an Administrative Fellowship in the Office of the President in 1989, Terrell was named deputy vice provost for Educational Equity in 1990. He left the University briefly to take on the role of acting provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Lock Haven University from 1996-97.
Terrell returned to Penn State in 1997 as associate vice provost for Educational Equity, and became vice provost in 1998.
His accomplishments are many, and his service was always exemplary. Among other community and university organizations, he served on the University's Forum on Black Affairs for many years, and was its president from 1986-87. He also was chair of the Equal Opportunity Planning Committee from and Penn State’s Representative for the Global Sullivan Principles.
Throughout his tenure at Penn State, Terrell embraced and supported diversity. When I was the dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Science, Terrell and I worked closely to develop and implement strategies to diversity the faculty, staff and student body. He had a profound and lasting effect on my thinking it this area.
I’m sure he would be proud that just last week Penn State was honored with the second consecutive national Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. Our progress is a credit to his lifetime of work.
There is much to be celebrated about the life of Terrell Jones, and one of the things I will miss most is the sense of perspective Terrell was able to bring to any issue. He had the rare ability to be opinionated without being polarizing; and he never minced words if he saw an injustice being done. Terrell’s easy manner, hilarious stories and gentle disposition made him a welcome addition to university and community meetings, and to the classroom.
When teaching, Terrell was known to say, "What happens in Thomas 100 stays in Thomas 100." But his lessons stayed with his students forever.
Penn State and all of us are better for our time with Terrell.
On behalf of Penn State, I want to thank the Jones family for sharing your husband, father, brother, and grandfather. May we honor Terrell’s memory by continuing to strive for a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming community.