Quad Citizen: Jerry Jones

Quad Citizen: Jerry Jones

Community Leader, Chicago Native, Augustana College Graduate

Quad Citizen Profile

Jerry Jones says he views Augustana College as the “launching pad for the second part of my life.” Jones tells the story of how he came from Chicago to the Quad Cities in the

late 1980s and after graduation, he stayed here. It's a life of service to others.

Jerry got his psychology degree in 1991 and after graduation, began working in social services after a volunteer experience at Bethany Homes while still in school. “Volunteering there made me not go to law school,” a career direction he was considering. Staying in the Quad Cities, he pursued work in social services with Family Resources, then moving to Catholic Social Services as a foster care case manager.

After that, Jones spent time working at the Robert Young Mental Health Center. Now at the Martin Luther King Center in Rock Island, Jerry started there in 1998 as youth program coordinator, becoming the executive director in 2001. He's very glad he stayed here in the Quad Cities.

“I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and I have worked in downtown Chicago” but Jerry says he didn't like the commute (2 hours one way!), the traffic, the expense of it, but finds the Quad Cities to be the “right size.”

“Here you can make important contacts that can impact the community positively,” and he says that in the Quad Cities, “you can build real relationships,” citing partnerships with organizations like the United Way and Rock Island Library.

“Being on a first-name basis with people helps to create levels of humanity” which continues to motivate him.

Jerry says he still interacts with his alma mater. “I still talk to Augie for volunteers, interns, staff and other resources ... it's an anchor for so many things in my professional life.” He's persuaded students to attend Augustana College too. He also says that “each college in the Quad Cities can provide that kind of opportunity.”

Jones talks about the MLK Celebration of Excellence and how Blackhawk College offers a scholarship to the MLK Center as a part of that.

Jerry is indebted to Augustana not only for his education, but because it's where he met his wife. They have two children that keep him busy, but he still finds time to play the guitar and says he can shank a golf ball “with the best of them.” He says his 16-year-old son is interested in both chemistry and welding, and even though Jones is not sure what direction his son will choose, “with any route he takes he has the opportunity to succeed here in the Quad Cities.”

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