Gifts from Jones’ family and matching donation to create $1 million+ fund to support individuals who are first in their families to pursue higher education
To kick off the week designed to celebrate his inauguration as the president of Belmont University, Dr. Greg Jones is pointing a spotlight on the partner who is sharing the journey, his wife Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones. Long involved in leadership and board roles with a variety of community organizations and foundations in their former home in North Carolina, Susan’s volunteer efforts have been focused on supporting children and families, and she is already seeking avenues to make a similar impact in Tennessee. She is also a passionate supporter of education, and first-generation students in particular, drawing on her own experience as a first-generation college student. Thanks to gifts from Greg Jones, the Jones’ family and a University match, the $1 million+ Susan Pendleton Jones Endowment for First Generation Students at Belmont University will support individuals who are the first in their families to pursue higher education.
“Susan is more than my partner, my spouse and my best friend,” said Greg Jones. “She is a north star for our family, providing the wisdom and encouragement to enable us all to set—and stay—the course in our personal, vocational and spiritual lives. Her sense of discernment, ministry and leadership with others is matched only by her kindness and humility. Creating this endowed fund in her name feels like a perfect way to honor her and inspire more young people to experience a transformative education that will empower their own good work in the world.”
The endowed fund will be used to support first generation college students through scholarships. There is a special focus on students coming to Belmont from community college experiences, honoring Susan’s mother’s journey late in life of attending and graduating from community college herself.
Prior to moving to Nashville, Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones served for several years as associate dean of ministerial formation at Duke Divinity School. She also has served as director of field education. Her teaching responsibilities at Duke have included courses on leadership, forgiveness and reconciliation, and the pastor’s vocation, team-taught with her husband. She and Greg have co-authored essays and articles as well as two books in the “Living the Good Life Together” series. Additionally, she was the project coordinator for Duke Divinity School’s award-winning 2005 building addition, which includes Goodson Chapel and the Westbrook Building. Rev. Jones’ role at Belmont University will play to similar strengths—in her volunteer position as Senior Fellow for Christ-Centered Visioning, she will support the President’s Office through a focus on projects like BASIC and The Store as well as through investing in the internal Belmont community to foster deeper, richer connections and vocational discernment.
A retired elder in the Western North Carolina (WNC) Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Susan has served pastorates in North Carolina and Maryland and as the former United Methodist campus minister at Duke. Susan is a graduate of Virginia Wesleyan University and received her Master’s of Divinity from Duke. She was also awarded an honorary doctorate from Virginia Wesleyan.
Susan and Greg are the parents of Nate (and Amy), Ben (and Allison) and Sarah (and Joey Fala), and the grandparents of Clara Susan Jones, Audrey Catherine Jones and Sophie Elizabeth Jones.