Melvin W. Jones Foundation Tenth Anniversary – 2009

LINCOLN, Neb. (August 19, 2009) – September 27, 2009 marked the tenth anniversary of the death of Dr. Melvin W. Jones former Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In honor of his life and legacy, the Melvin W. Jones Foundation hosted the Melvin W. Jones Tribute Weekend, September 18-20, 2009.

Throughout his career, Jones was committed to encouraging young people to strive for academic excellence and to be altruistic and share their energy, time, and talent with others. Jones’ philosophy to “Never, Ever… Give Up” is the motivation that drives the Foundation’s programs to serve young people and emerging professionals.

Jones, who had a special commitment to the development of young people, took pride in his involvement in such groups as; Mad Dads and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Board of Directors of United Way, Downtown Lincoln Association, Leadership Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press and the Nebraska Council of Economic Education. He was a lifetime member of the NAACP and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

One of Jones’ accomplishments as vice chancellor was the negotiation of the $23 million dollar Pepsi contract, which created an endowment of $11 million to support academic student programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Melvin W. Jones Tribute Weekend began with a Tribute Gala at the Embassy Suites on Friday September 18. The Gala featured actor Lamman Rucker as the Master of Ceremonies. Rucker is best known for his role as ‘Sheriff Troy” in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? with Janet Jackson and Jill Scott. The Gala also featured memories from friends and family as well as musical performances by Eclectic Connection; trumpeter, Darryl White; and blues/jazz singer, Annette Murrell.

The Tribute weekend continued with the “Doc Jones Golf Tournament and Tennis Slam”; a Jazz Concert, “For the Love of Mel”; led by Mel’s friend, UNL faculty member and renown jazz trumpeter Dr. Darryl White, Grammy Award nominee saxophonist Brad Leali, jazz pianist Chip Stevens who performed on the Grammy Award winning CD, Hot House by Arturo Sandoval, and musician, educator and composers; bass guitarist Craig Akin and percussionist Brandon Draper.

The “Tribute” weekend concluded with an Inspirational Gospel Fest, The Gospel Fest includes choirs from around the Midwest area and was directed by Oscar Harriott of the Gospel Music Workshop and featured choirs from Lincoln and Omaha, NE.

Each activity was organized to represent an aspect of Melvin’s life and joys.  The “Tribute” weekend was also a way to broaden the appreciation for the MWJ Foundation and its work.  In the future, the MWJ Foundation will continue to host these kinds of events to raise both awareness and funds for its initiatives.  We will sponsor programs and periodic fund-raising events in Lincoln, NE; Memphis, TN; Atlanta GA; and Washington, D.C.  Please consult this website and our Facebook link frequently to learn of upcoming programs and events.  We hope to see you in attendance at one soon!