Mississippi College

Dr. Dan Jones Named 2012 Mississippi College Alumnus of the Year

September 24, 2012

An outstanding higher education leader and prominent healthcare advocate, Dr. Dan Jones will be honored as Mississippi College’s 2012 Alumnus of the Year at Homecoming festivities this fall.

MC leaders are pleased to spotlight Dr. Jones, the 16th chancellor of the University of Mississippi, for his noteworthy contributions to Ole Miss, Mississippi College and as the first principal investigator for the landmark Jackson Heart Study.

“Seldom in our history have we honored one who has made so many contributions in so many fields,” MC President Lee Royce says. “We are grateful for his service to the medical profession, to the state and nation, to his alma mater and especially to God.”

A Vicksburg native, Jones served as a Southern Baptist medical missionary to South Korea, as the former president of the American Heart Association, the vice chancellor of the University of Mississippi Medical Center and as a Mississippi College trustee.

Mississippi College’s Homecoming weekend on October 26-27 will recognize Dr. Jones for his positive impact on the lives of many Mississippians and others around the nation, school leaders say.

“He and Lydia are wonderful ambassadors for our entire state from their roles of responsibility at Ole Miss,” says MC trustee Andy Taggart, a Ridgeland attorney. “And he does Mississippi College proud all along the way.”

Dr. Stan Baldwin, dean of the School of Science and Mathematics, praises Dr. Jones for his leadership at UMC in helping Mississippi College team up with the medical center in Jackson to launch MC’s physician assistant program in 2011. Now with 60 graduate students, MC’s program seeks to train professionals who work under the supervision of physicians to tackle healthcare deficiencies in the state and nation.

“His help in facilitating UMMC’s collaboration with Mississippi College for our new P.A. program was invaluable,” says Baldwin, who also serves as a professor at the medical center. “Dr. Jones has been a tireless supporter of MC over the years.”

A chemistry major at MC, Jones credits mentors in the department, including Dr. Archie Germany and Dr. John Legg, for challenging him to reach his highest level of performance.

“My time at Mississippi College was pivotal in so many ways in my life,” Jones said. “Most of us graduating from rural school systems in Mississippi in the 1960s had some gaps in our preparation. The professors at Mississippi College were able to help me make a successful transition to the level of academic preparation to be competitive for medical school admission.”

America’s second oldest Baptist college, MC also “offered the opportunity for me to make a healthy spiritual transition from the faith of childhood to a fully examined faith of an adult,” he said.

There are other important reasons why Dr. Jones is a believer in the merits of a Mississippi College education. At MC, “I found my best friend for life and wife of 41 years, Lydia. All that is more than anyone should expect from a college experience.”

In addition, Dan Jones treasures his experience as an MC trustee during the early years of the Lee Royce administration that began in 2002. “Supporting his vision for the direction of Mississippi College was a joy and delight. Watching the remarkable progress over the years of his leadership has been very satisfying and fulfilling. We are fortunate to have him as our leader.”

Dr. Jones took office as Ole Miss chancellor in June 2009. He oversees a four-campus comprehensive university that enrolled 20,844 students in 2011-2012, including the medical center. During his tenure as vice chancellor of the medical center, the Mississippian served as dean of the Ole Miss School of Medicine. The first physician to lead Ole Miss, he still keeps a black leather doctor’s bag on a shelf in his office on the Oxford campus. In 2007-2008, Dr. Jones served as president of the American Heart Association.

A 1971 MC graduate, Jones entered the University of Mississippi School of Medicine and graduated with his M.D. in 1975. Ten years later, he traveled to South Korea as a medical missionary. He and his wife, Lydia, have two grown children. Their daughter, Jennifer, is married to Jaime Flechas and they live in Oxford with their son, Noah, and daughter, Finnley. Their son, Jason, resides in Clinton with his wife, Tiffany, and daughter, Brantley.

Dr. Jones and other MC award recipients will be honored at a Homecoming dinner in Anderson Hall on Friday October 26 beginning at 6 p.m.

For more information on Mississippi College’s 2012 Homecoming activities, contact Alumni Affairs coordinator Lori Bobo at 601.925.3252 or lbobo@mc.edu.

Photo: Dan Jones

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