JCJC Honors College students hear how Chancellor Jones deals with the challenges of leadership

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2014-05-08 10:28:15

ELLISVILLE – With Ole Miss’ history dating back to 1848, Chancellor Dan Jones explained to Jones County Junior College’s Charles Pickering Honors Institute students he wasn’t sure he really wanted the top job. He shared there are three things he was initially concerned about when contemplating the highest position at the state’s first university.
“Race, alcohol and football. However it seems like everyone gets more upset about the football season and the head coach.” He shared, “Selecting football coaches has been more challenging to me than the first two, even with the help of famous alumnus, Archie Manning.”
Dr. Jones didn’t shy away from discussing recent incidents on campus regarding alcohol and race. In fact, the Chancellor told JCJC students he hopes they will have challenges too.
“Challenges are opportunities to grow and lead when not many want to take these types of issues on.” He continued, “When you’re making progress some people don’t want that to continue. Discrimination happens on all college campuses and sometimes people do dumb things….Our message is we will continue to work on our campus, especially when we have challenges. We feel more responsible (because of our past) and we have the opportunity to do that (address those issues). You tend to attract more hate when you’re making progress because we challenge it.”
JCJC freshman from Jackson, Tyler Harless said he could relate to Dr. Jones’ thoughts on challenging situations.
“I’m not surprised race is going to be an issue because not everyone feels the same about race or any issue. Look at (former NFL football quarterback) Tim Tebow. It’s true, the more time you spend in the public the more people will challenge you on your beliefs.”
Chancellor Jones’ original career goal did not involve being in the spotlight. As a 1975 graduate of the University of Mississippi Medical School, his original goal was to help people through medicine. However he admitted he was intimidated by classmates with a photographic memory because he didn’t have that skill. He overcame what he called “marginal” academic abilities by being disciplined.
“Discipline and hard work will trump intelligence every time,” explained Chancellor Jones. “You don’t get the leadership positions by wanting to be a leader. You get the leadership positions by wanting to be a servant…. However, I initially did struggle with selfish ambition.” 
He offered several solutions to help JCJC students overcome being overly ambitious: Have someone keep you accountable; Have a moral compass or a spiritual element in your life to keep you centered; Be honest with yourself and challenge yourself. Chancellor Jones emphasized though, it is OK to have some ambition.  
“It’s not that we shouldn’t have dreams and be competitive and innovative; it’s that our dreams and ambitions should be about other people,” he explained.
Chancellor Jones spent seven years in South Korea as a missionary doctor and seven years in Jones County practicing medicine before taking on major leadership roles. Departing as the guest speaker for the Innovative and Competition Series, Dr. Jones challenged JCJC students to make life in Mississippi and in general, better.


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