Ken Jones' pledge to scholarship honors parents' legacy

Siblings Kenneth, Stanton and Vinetta Jones established the Albert D. and Clara Stanton Jones scholarship at UMSI in 2007 in honor of their parents to support MSI students, with preference given to students interested in urban librarianship, to reflect their mother’s career path.

Stanton Jones says, “We established the scholarship fund to assist in perpetuating the memory and the recognition of the accomplishments and contributions of two loving and giving human beings. Financial support that eases the access to training and research in information science seemed a natural way to perpetuate the legacy of our parents."

Ken Jones, a proud University of Michigan College of Engineering alumnus, recently made an additional pledge to support the Jones scholarship, continuing to provide tuition support to students who may not otherwise be able to afford a UMSI education. “Learning and libraries were always a central part of our lives from our earliest ages,” Ken says.

Clara Stanton Jones was a pioneer in the library field. She graduated from the University of Michigan when UMSI was just a department, in 1938. She was the first African American president of the American Library Association and the first African American to direct a major public library (Detroit). She created outreach programs to give access to citizens who had never used libraries. Many people using her libraries had come from the South and were used to institutions like hers being closed to people of color. But she empowered her community by speaking out at churches, schools, and community centers and by using the media to let Detroiters know that the library was for them.

She used the press to tell the story of what the library could do for Detroiters and told them how it could change their lives. She was ahead of her time in many ways, as Ken Jones explains: "Her signature initiative, The Information Place (TIP) was the pre-Internet conceptual precursor to Google.  She organized the collection, cataloging it with library staff for extremely easy access and responsiveness to the public with information to answer any and all requests. TIP is still emulated in libraries across the country."

Albert Jones spent many years employed as a social worker in Detroit. In later life, after he and Clara moved to Oakland, CA, he served on the Board of Directors of the Alameda County Food Bank, volunteered every year with Meals on Wheels and walked around Lake Merritt in fundraisers.

UMSI is proud to honor the legacy of Clara and Albert through this fund. The Albert D. and Clara Stanton Jones scholarship fund has provided tuition support to five students since 2007. Thanks to the Jones siblings as well as Ken Jones’s additional support, the Jones scholarship will ease the financial burden for many more UMSI students in years to come.