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President’s Award recognizes sustained commitments to Emporia State

A former administrator and current volunteer as well as a family whose legacy has benefited Emporia State University students are the inaugural recipients of the new President’s Award for the Common Good.

The awards will be presented during Homecoming festivities in October 2015 to Dr. Harry Stephens, current member of the ESU Foundation Board of Trustees, and Walter S., Evan C. and Olive Jones whose estates created the Jones Trust and Foundation.

“This award provides an opportunity for the university to recognize individual people and organizations who set aside their own agendas to advance Emporia State’s mission of preparing students for lifelong learning, rewarding careers and adaptive leadership,” said Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, president of Emporia State University.

An Emporia State alumnus, Stephens is former dean of students and vice president for student affairs. During his tenure as vice president, he coordinated the development of the Student Recreation Center and the Center for Early Childhood Education. Even after his retirement, Stephens remained active in campus Greek affairs and the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. Stephens served as a state senator and currently is a member of the Emporia State University Foundation Board of Trustees.

In the 1950s, after brothers Walter S. and Evan C. Jones and Walter’s wife, Olive, died, the wills directed the estate be used to help provide assistance for medical expenses for children under 21 years of age who lived in Coffey, Lyon or Osage counties. In the 1960s the scope of the gift was expanded to include educational benefits for residents of the three counties, regardless of age. The Walter S. and Evan C. Jones Foundation administers those grants.

Students at Emporia State have benefitted from the Walter S. & Evan C. Jones Foundation Scholarships given from 1981 through 1995. Over the past 19 years, the Jones Foundation has given nearly $7 million directly to Emporia State University in grants to almost 2,000 of its students. The monies have been used to cover the costs of items like tuition, fees and books for a maximum of eight semesters.

A total of 3,886 Emporia State students have received either a tuition voucher or a grant since 1995. During the 2014-15 academic year alone, the Jones Foundation gave more than $850,000 in direct support to Emporia State University, with $350,500 going to 373 students through the tuition voucher program and $499,678 going to 141 students through the grants. The programs overlapped for 75 students, whose cumulative benefits totaled $310,554.

Since 1983, Emporia State University has received almost $3 million in gifts through the Trust. Among those are $750,000 for the Jones Distinguished Professorship, $525,000 for the Jones Institute for Educational Excellence; $321,000 for Cram Hall renovations; $500,000 for the Jones Professorship for the Advancement of Teaching; $337,500 for the Super Turf playing surface at Jones Field in Welch Stadium, $46,540 for the Hammond Heights Complex Campaign Fund, and $500,000 for the Department of Nursing.

“Emporia State University is a special place with special people like Harry Stephens and the Jones family whose contributions and service have elevated the university and made it successful,” said Shonrock. “In short, they have contributed to the ‘common good’ of the institution and community.”