AFTER 44 YEARS AT CCSU CHARLES "CJ" JONES, JR. RETIRES
In 1967, Mr. George Wyer a newly hired Central Connecticut State College math instructor had the vision to propose a program that would assist young minority students enhance their academic skills with the intent to increase the graduation rate. Wyer gained the support of key university officials to help launch the "Summer Extended Orientation Program" in 1969, years later it was renamed the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP).
For the first twenty-five years, Mr. Charles "CJ" Jones, Jr. and his wife, Mrs. Linda (Coggshell) Jones would continue the program’s mission to provide college access to hundreds of low income and first-generation college bound students. To this day, many CCSU alumni thank CJ for the opportunity to obtain a college education. Many recall the "summer that will change your life forever" as that opportunity that propelled them into their career professions and improved quality of life for their families. Also, what former students will remember fondly were the summer weekend cook-outs with CJ at the grill and the music playing. Then there were the days when the program in its infancy needed funds to flourish or financial aid assistance to students; CJ took it upon himself to host numerous "Car Wash" fundraisers. CJ did not stop here; he met with alumni, companies, and corporations to establish an "EOP Scholarship Foundation" to help students achieve their dreams. At every end of the summer award ceremony, CJ challenges each new class to graduate and more importantly to give “back monetarily” to the program that placed them on the path to success. When alumni call he is proud to learn of their achievements, but CJ being CJ reminds them to give to the scholarship foundation.
For the remaining years, CJ followed his athletic mentors Harrison Kaiser and Bill Detrick as the Director of Athletics. For CJ, CCSU is his life, he earned his bachelor's and master's degree here, he met his wife here, and he worked his enter life here. For those who stepped into his on-campus office you observed the large "Cookie Monster" souvenir collection, and like Cookie Monster, CJ too is loveable, kindhearted, and caring. For many students CJ was their father figure who believed in them and nurtured their dreams of becoming career professionals.
At Central Connecticut State University, CJ has left a legacy that hopefully will inspire all to do the same.
-- The Central Focus, Spring 2009
Article on Mr. Charles "C.J." & Mrs. Linda (Coggshell) Jones
-- By Desmond Conner | The Hartford Courant
June 17, 2009