By Katie Williamson
Working in a building whose columns are still pocked with bullet marks from a tumultuous integration, Chancellor Dan Jones has made it his mission to move the university forward with diversity and inclusivity at the center of his campaign.
In May, the Graduate School honored those efforts and Dr. Jones was recognized at the Doctoral. Hooding Ceremony with the Award for Excellence in Promoting Inclusiveness in Graduate Education for his years of dedication to expanding the role of diversity in all areas of the University.
“I am grateful for the recognition and grateful for the creation of the award as an explicit statement of support for diversity and inclusion in the graduate school,” said Dr. Jones.
For the past six years Dr. Jones has devoted himself to making inclusiveness a priority. From developing the Sensitivity and Respect Committee and increasing funding for the Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation to nationally condemning incidents on campus and loudly promoting the establishment of diversity at the University, Jones lived his commitment to inclusiveness on all university campuses.
“He has placed inclusivity at the center of the vision for the university,” said Dean of the Graduate School John Z. Kiss. “While many people talk about diversity, it is clear to me that Dr. Jones not only discusses these issues, he has a strong passion in his heart for the centrality of diversity and how we can use diversity and inclusiveness to improve our university.”
Dr. Jones has been fighting a difficult battle against Mississippi’s and the University’s history. He has stressed the core values of the University of Mississippi Creed and through his words and actions has lived up to its central ideals of dignity, respect and fairness. His proactive and reactive work in terms of diversity has promoted inclusiveness in graduate and undergraduate education.
“It (diversity) makes us a stronger and better place,” said Dr. Jones. “This country is a great experiment right now. We are likely the most diverse society among major nations and the world and diversity does not come without adjustment, without a learning curve. We’re still experimenting as a country about exactly how we do this successfully. But we’ve done it long enough to recognize that there is strength in our diversity, that there is strength in diverse points of view and strength in the diversity of cultures that contribute to our mosaic of the American culture. Done well, diversity makes us a stronger and healthier society and diversity makes this a stronger and healthier university.”
Although Dr. Jones will not be continuing as chancellor, he said that he has high expectations for the next chancellor to continue working toward creating a strong university.
“I hope the next chancellor will see that there is a lot of momentum that can be built on and will see that the university has accomplished a lot but that there is much much more to accomplish in this area and will have a personal commitment to diversity and inclusion as important values for the institution.”