The Sylvester Jones Leadership and Career Resource Center was named for of one of the most artful and courageous leaders at The University of Alabama. Sylvester Jones (1952-1997) was the first African-American to serve as a vice president of the Student Government Association, and was also a student representative to the UA Board of Trustees. Sylvester Jones was a leader who blazed new trails for others to walk with him. His leadership efforts throughout the state of Alabama continued to set the pace for civic engagement, collaboration, and service. Sylvester’s special gift was the ability to establish friendships across the boundaries of race, religion, and philosophy. State leaders acknowledge that “Sly” was there when only the truest of heart was willing to stand and be counted. Soon after his untimely death, the University, through Dr. Kathleen Cramer and in conjunction with Jones’ family and friends, decided to establish the center to honor the memory of a man whose life was an example of what initiative, good work ethic, leadership coupled with networking and collaboration, and good use of resources can achieve. It is appropriate that his name rests on the area where students may interact with resources, staff, and each other to follow their passion.
“(Sylvester Jones was) one of the most gifted and outstanding individuals I have known, whose leadership, honesty, great personal warmth and kindness uplifted and made better all institutions of which he was a part, including the University of Alabama.” Dr. Richard Thigpen, former UA Executive and Academic Vice President
“(Jones was) the one whose name and face it seemed like everybody knew, could work a room like a preacher at a church picnic. But he didn’t have to pick a good spot — the room came to him.” Bob Carlton, The Tuscaloosa News
“Sylvester had the gift of being direct without wounding. He was crystal-clear. We always knew exactly what he thought. Not for Sylvester the elliptical Southern way of disguising one’s feelings to avoid injury. That said, no one ever seemed stung by Sylvester’s comments. No one ever felt that a Sylvester comment was personal. No one ever felt wounded after talking with him. I lack this ability and I have envied Sylvester my entire life for it.” Jeffrey I. Tilden, classmate and attorney, Seattle
Now located in the heart of the Career Center, the Sylvester Jones Resource Area follows Jones’ example by providing materials regarding the acquisition and maintenance of leadership qualities as well as materials to support and sustain career initiatives. There are resources to be used by staff and students alike to enhance and empower readers moving along their career paths. The area provides space for presentations by consultants to classes and workshop participants.