Tamara Jones, a Troy University alumna and a member of the TROY staff for more than 30 years, passed away on April 21. She was 65.
Funeral services were held April 25.
Jones retired in January of 2021 as Assistant Dean of Student Success after 32 years of service to the University.
A graduate of Enterprise High School, Jones was a member of TROY’s Sound of the South marching band and worked for TSU radio during her time as a student. It was her involvement in the band that led her to meet her husband, Charlie. The two would later marry and move, first to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and then to Houston, Texas before returning to Troy in 1988.
Jones enjoyed cheering on the Trojans football team along with a group of friends she and her husband met through their children’s involvement with the Sound of the South.
At work, it was Jones’ ability to connect with students that left an indelible mark on Troy University. Her ability to connect with students was recognized with the 2018-2019 Teresa Penn Rodgers Excellence in Student Advising Award, but her passion to help students succeed went far deeper than honors and awards – it came from the heart.
“Tamara’s ability to connect with students — particularly students who were at academic risk and who had found themselves in academic penalty — and get them well academically, was one of her greatest strengths,” said Dr. Lance Tatum, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “She was very deliberate in how she interacted and dealt with these students. She insisted that they come and sit down with her. She built individualized plans with each one of them. She insisted that they come in throughout the next semester and check in with her to discuss with her how things were going. She saved hundreds and hundreds of students in terms of them being able to overcome academic issues and continue with the university. In some cases, the students were making poor decisions, and, in some cases, they just weren’t fully prepared for university work, and it was her intervention with those students that made such a profound difference in their success.”
Tatum said it was her knowledge of curriculum that helped set her apart from others.
“She was good at it because as the Registrar, she knew the curriculum,” he said. “She was able to help students navigate through academic programs in a way that most other people just couldn’t understand. It was that strength of understanding how curriculum worked that drew her to First-Year Studies.”
Dr. Hal Fulmer, Associate Provost and Dean of Student Success and First-Year Studies, said Jones embodied the University’s student-centered focus.
“Tamara was among the most student-centered persons I have ever known,” Fulmer said. “She wanted every student to succeed, and she was willing to work very hard to help in that student’s success. She was a difference-maker at Troy University in all her roles — as the Troy Campus Registrar, as Athletics’ compliance officer and as the Assistant Dean of Student Success. She was an alumna who kept giving back to the school she loved. We missed her when she took her well-deserved retirement, and we all miss her now that she is gone from us. She was my colleague and my friend.”
Jones is survived by her husband of 43 years, Charlie; daughter Tori (Tony) Norris, and son Christopher Jones; grandchildren Anniston Jones, Landon Jones, Braden Norris and Andrew Norris; sister Teryan Clark; brothers Blane (Marianne) Gralheer, Bryan (Sharon) Gralheer and Brent (Renee) Gralheer; sister-in-law Ann Curry; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Glen and Lois Gralheer and sister Teena Miller.