John E. Jones III Inaugurated as 30th President of Dickinson College, Reflects on Year as Interim President

John E. Jones III was inaugurated as the 30th president of Dickinson College in a ceremony on Saturday, September 24.

After remarks welcoming Jones from faculty, staff, students, community members, alumni and trustees, the President spoke and received the red ceremonial robes which mark the Office of the President of the College. 

In his address to the college, Jones thanked all those who introduced him but stated that it was odd to be “eulogized while alive.” He said that in the past he “used to idly muse about what it would be like to be a college president.” 

Jones highlighted some of his accomplishments during his year as interim president. This included the launching of The Campaign for Scholarships at Dickinson, which raised more than 40 million dollars towards a 75 million dollar goal for meeting the full demonstrated need of Dickinson students. He also highlighted efforts to foster and support civil dialogue on Dickinson’s campus.

After noting that the Holland Union Building — better known as the HUB — was much the same as when he was a student, in both looks and smells, Jones promised to renovate the building. “My goal is to see construction start by 2024,” he said.

Jones told The Dickinsonian that he expected the inauguration to be a “joyous occasion” and that he was “honored beyond belief” to take on the role. His inauguration ceremony occurred 20 years to the day since Jones had assumed his position as Federal Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, a lifetime appointment. Jones said in an interview that he was “pretty conflicted about leaving the bench” but also “felt I had one more mountain.” 

After a year as interim president, Jones said “I like it even more than I thought I would and hoped I would.”

Those in attendance included Former Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker, William Durden, 27th President of Dickinson College, and members of the federal judiciary that had been colleagues of Jones during his tenure as a federal judge, as well as trustees, faculty and Jones’ family.