Community College Executive Receives MC’s 2021 Higher Education Alumnus of the Year Award
An executive leader at one of the state’s top community colleges has received the Mississippi College 2021 Higher Education Alumnus of the Year Award.
MC’s higher education graduate faculty selected Dr. Steven J. Jones, vice president for administrative services at Mississippi Delta Community College, to receive the award at the Christian University’s Homecoming last fall. Jones was unable to attend the event, so administrators rolled out the red carpet for a special presentation on Jan. 7 in Alumni Hall.
A native of Taylorsville, Jones earned his bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies in 2010 and his master’s degree in higher education administration in 2012 at Mississippi College before obtaining his graduate certificate in community college leadership and his Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Jones credited the quality education he received at MC for spurring his successful postgraduate career in higher education.
“I always say that Mississippi College has one of the most rigorous higher education instruction programs, and well-respected instructors and professors in that program,” Jones said during the award presentation. “The education that I got was invaluable.
“Of course, it led me to pursue a doctorate degree and other opportunities as well, so I’d say it’s inestimable.”
Before pursuing a career in higher education, Jones served as a senior paralegal and legal administrator for Michael R. Brown Law Offices, PLLC, in Jackson, focusing on civil litigation and assisting with matters involving employment law, worker’s compensation, and personal injury litigation.
He credited his foundational educational experience at MC for motivating a career change that has included stints as associate director of student housing and residence and director of student housing and residence life/deputy Title IX coordinator for Hinds Community College-Raymond, and executive director of Title III and sponsored grants for Hinds Community College-Utica. In the latter position, he managed more than $7 million annually in discretionary grant funds and more than $18 million total.
“It’s just very immeasurable, all the things that I’ve learned here at this institution and have been able to apply to my professional career,” he said. “I’m just very happy to be a part of the alumni family here at Mississippi College, and I’m just very excited about the opportunity to represent this institution.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure.”
Dr. Debbie C. Norris, associate provost and graduate dean at MC, taught Jones at the Clinton campus. She said the success he has enjoyed throughout his career is indicative of what the Alumnus of the Year Award represents.
“The faculty look at the accomplishments of the graduates of the program and work cohesively to make this choice,” she said. “MC’s program began in the fall of 2006. Since then, MC has been fortunate to see many of its graduates do extremely well.
“Such is the case for Dr. Steven Jones, who has two degrees from Mississippi College.”
In appointing Jones to his current position, Dr. Tyrone Jackson, MDCC president, called him a “go-getter who believes in excellence as the expectation.”
“He is knowledgeable about budgets and finance, physical plants, and auxiliary services,” Jackson said. “He is deeply committed to a culture of innovation in higher education. Steve is a team player, a visionary leader, and is an excellent addition to our senior leadership team as a member of the President’s Cabinet.”
Since joining MDCC, Jones has been responsible for counseling services, facilities management, government relations, human resources, information technology, student success, and sponsored grants. He works diligently through multiple grant programs to find external funding for the community college.
His efforts have been fruitful: some of the funds awarded to his institution have come through national agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.