Sonoma State University Interim Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Student Access and Educational Equality
Dr. Gerald L. Jones serves as interim vice president for Student Affairs, Student Access and Educational Equality, implementing strategies to increase recruitment, retention and graduation of historically underrepresented students. He also oversees the Male Success Initiative (MSI) program which aids in closing the achievement gap for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) male students. Over the last three years, Jones has been the principal investigator on more than 25 grants totaling $14 million to support at-risk and marginalized students.
Throughout his more than 20 years of service to the university, Jones has made tremendous contributions to thousands of underserved students. From serving as director of the TRiO Upward Bound programs to his current dual role as senior director of the Center for Academic Access and Student Enrichment (CAASE), he has dedicated himself to assisting the most vulnerable populations. This includes helping students enroll into the four-year college/university of their choice along with earning their degrees within six years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones worked with campus partners to ensure all CAASE students-in-need had the technological resources – including Chromebooks, noise-cancelling headphones and hotspots – to continue their studies online.
His unwavering commitment to student success translates at the individual level as well. Prior to the pandemic, Jones personally escorted students to Japan where they expanded their international acumen. For many, this was a transformational experience providing their first opportunity to travel outside of California, let alone internationally. Jones has earned the respect of the campus community too. Following the tragic death of George Floyd in spring 2020, he co-authored a paper – “A Letter of Acknowledgement and Vulnerability: Two Black Docs Leaning In” – that was a heartfelt response to the multiple killings of Black Americans by law enforcement officers and its impact on the work of student affairs professionals.
Jones earned his bachelor’s degree from Sonoma State University in English Literature and Afro-American Studies. He went on to earn his master’s degree in Legal Studies and a juris doctor from Empire College School of Law.