Dr. Johnny D. Jones, the only black college president in the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), was among those receiving doctoral degrees from Jackson State University on Friday.
Jones, president of Little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago, Neb., earned a Ph.D. in Education Administration and Supervision. It was Jones’ second terminal degree. He earned a doctorate in Education in Leadership and Policy in 2002 in the West Indies.
Jones said he pursued his Ph.D. at JSU because he wanted to better position himself for his long-term goal of leading an accreditation system.
“That’s why I chose JSU as the place to take it to the next level,” Jones said Friday during a doctoral scholars reception held before the fall 2013 commencement. “JSU is the leading HBCU in the country.”
Jones, 40, who was born and raised in Mississippi, is the first black president of Little Priest. The institution is among the 34 tribal Colleges and Universities that are members of the AIHEC, which was founded in 1972 in an informal collaboration by the presidents of the first six tribal colleges, Jones said.
Little Priest’s major focus is to provide a two-year associate degree, and prepare students to transfer and successfully complete a major at a four-year institution.
Jones was named president of the college about seven months ago. Prior to that, Jones served as vice president for Student Affairs and Diversity at Mississippi Valley State University, executive vice president and chief academic officer at Arkansas Baptist College. He also has served as assistant dean of the Graduate School at the University of Arkansas.
“To maximize my chance to be a good college president, I had to maximize my education. I saw the great things JSU was doing in the area of HBCUs so I came here,” he said.