Alumnus, staff member Luke Jones to chair John Robert Lewis Leadership Conference Advisory Board

Luke Jones addresses audience during Saturday session of the 2024 John R. Lewis Leadership Conference.

Luke Jones addresses audience during Saturday session of the 2024 John R. Lewis Leadership Conference.

Troy University alumnus and current staff member Luke Jones has always strived to be a leader, whether at home or at work. Now, the Academic Advisor Coordinator for First Year Studies at TROY is bringing his leadership skills to the role of Chair of the Advisory Board for the Congressman John R. Lewis Leadership Conference.

Presented by Troy University and the City of Troy, the conference seeks to bring individuals together to promote dialogue that fosters multicultural collaboration to strengthen relationships and empower diverse leaders with the tools to better serve their organizations and communities. The event was launched in 2002 as the vision of the late Lamar P. Higgins, Troy University Trustee and alumnus, and was renamed to honor the memory of Congressman Lewis, a Troy native, in 2020.

Luke Jones

Jones, who received his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2009 and his master’s in counseling and psychology in 2013, said he was honored to serve in the role of chairman.

“It means a lot to me. I want to thank Chancellor Hawkins for recommending me for it,” he said. “I’ve always seen myself as being a leader, so being a leader of a leadership conference is something to be proud of.”

Jones grew up behind Sorority Hill, in the shadow of the University. Having the opportunity to serve in a role that represents his university, and his hometown brings him great pride.

“It gives me great pride to be able to serve the community in this way,” he said. “I literally grew up in the backyard of the University, so Troy University has always felt like home.”

Jones’ family has quite the TROY legacy. His mother, two older brothers, numerous cousins and his wife of 15 years, Toni, hold TROY degrees.

One of Jones’ goal for the Leadership Conference is to increase student participation.

“I am hoping to raise the participation level of students – not just students here at TROY but also students from the community,” he said. “I’m looking to bring in more youth to experience the leadership conference and all it has to offer. To do that, we need to become more involved in the community to make families and communities more aware of the event. I am hopeful that we can find sponsorships to help offset some of the cost for young people to attend the conference. The Leadership Conference was started for a reason, and we need to make sure we are carrying that reason forward to bring the Leadership Conference to its full potential.”

The addition of Congressman Lewis’ name to the conference, Jones believes, brings even greater significance to the event.

“Congressman Lewis was a leader. I feel bringing his leadership methods and legacy is what the conference has needed,” he said. “Having the Leadership Conference carry his name adds weight and significance to the event and what it is all about, which is preparing leaders for the next generation.”

Jones has been a member of the University’s staff for 11 years, beginning as an admissions specialist and later an admissions supervisor with TROY Online.

“In 2017, I started to get itch to see students face-to-face. I felt like that was my calling,” he said. “TROY Online prepared me with the skills and the knowledge base, but I was missing that student connection. I applied for the advisor’s position that was open here in the John W. Schmidt Center for Student Success, and I’ve been here going on four years. Not long ago, I was named as one of the coordinators here for the academic advising team. Interacting with the students is my favorite part of the job.”

In addition to his work at TROY, Jones is a member of Goshen First Baptist Church where he sings in the choir. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the Tomaras Deveridge Scholarship Fund and has served on several panels for the university with student services and leadership.

Jones and his wife have three children – 13-year-old Mason, four-year-old Willow is 4 and two-year-old Stoni.

Jones hopes that more people will take advantage of the valuable leadership information available through the conference.

“Come listen to the great information about what a leader is and the importance of being a leader. Not only will they gain those leadership skills and knowledge, but they also will have the opportunity to be among the community and have the chance to interact and learn from others who you might not necessarily learn from every day,” he said. “Growing up, my mom and dad always told me and my two older brothers, ‘You never know until try.’ I guarantee once they come and try, they will be amazed at the information they gain here as a part of the Leadership Conference.”