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Frank Jones

Academic administrator Frank Jones was born on November 9, 1928 in Greensboro, North Carolina to Dr. David D. and Susie W. Jones. His father had become the president of Bennett College two years before his birth. His mother was a homemaker who was very involved in her community. Her parents were graduates of Berea College in Kentucky during the late 1880s. In 1946, Jones graduated high school from Andover Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Jones graduated with his B.A. degree from Harvard College (Harvard University) in 1950. After serving two years in the military and a few years working at a bank, he attended Harvard Business School, receiving his M.B.A. degree in 1957.

After completing business school, Jones was employed at the Harvard Business School as the assistant dean until 1962. He then worked as a marketing manager executive for Scott Paper Company where he had a very promising career. However, Jones was approached by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) President Howard W. Johnson and offered a job as assistant to the president at the school. He turned down that offer but accepted another job as assistant director of the Urban Systems Laboratory at MIT. Shortly thereafter, Jones was named Ford Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning and became the first African American tenured professor at the MIT in 1971. In addition to teaching civil engineering in the department of urban studies and planning, Jones was also actively involved on campus and within the larger community. He became director of the Whitney Young Program in 1971. This program was established through his department and allowed select local leaders to spend the equivalent of an academic year at MIT working with faculty on projects of special importance to them, their organizations or communities. Jones served on a committee to urge MIT to found the Office for Minority Education in 1974. The committee, comprised of faculty and students, wanted MIT to create that office whose mission was to recruit and retain minority students, implement programs to motivate academic performance, and to help minority students adjust to the MIT environment. In 1992, Jones retired and became professor emeritus at MIT.

Jones was active in the business community, joining numerous boards including The Corporation at Draper Laboratory, CIGNA and Connecticut General Insurance Corporation where Jones became the first African American board member. He generously supported charities including the Frank S. Jones Student Activity Fund at MIT which supported students working on community-based projects and activities.

Frank S. Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 19, 2011.

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Interview Date


Last Name


Maker Category
Middle Name



Charles H. Sumner High School

Phillips Academy

Harvard University

Harvard Business School

First Name


Birth City, State, Country




Favorite Season



North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Waveland, Mississippi, Paris, France, Florence, Italy, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Hilton Head, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

Oh My God!

Bio Photo
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Interview Description
Birth Date


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Speakers Bureau Region City




Favorite Food

Soul Food, Pig Feet, Greens

Short Description

Academic administrator Frank Jones (1928 - ) was the Ford Professor Emeritus of Urban Affairs and the first African American tenured professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Harvard University Business School

Scott Paper Company

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Morehouse College

Favorite Color


Timing Pairs

<a href="">Tape: 1 Slating of Frank Jones' interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Frank Jones talks about his father, David Jones, and his father's side of the family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Frank Jones discusses his paternal grandparents, his mother and his mother's side of the family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Frank Jones describes his maternal grandparents and his grandfather's education at Berea College</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Frank Jones describes his relationship with his maternal grandfather and his high school experience</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Frank Jones describes how his parents met, his siblings and their early life as a family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Frank Jones talks about his father's work as president of Bennett College, and growing up on a college campus</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Frank Jones describes his extracurricular activities as a child and his elementary school education</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Frank Jones talks about his experience attending Andover Phillips Academy, in Massachusetts, part 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Frank Jones talks about joining the Phi Beta Chi secret society and serving as a student deacon at Andover Phillips Academy</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Frank Jones describes preparing for college and his family's legacy at Bennett College</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Frank Jones talks about his experience attending Harvard University</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Frank Jones describes himself as a student at Harvard, his course of study and classmates</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Frank Jones describes his experience as a member of the Hasty Pudding club as well as the notable graduates of Harvard University</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Frank Jones talks about his post-graduate activities and joining the U.S. Army</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Frank Jones recalls his discharge from the U.S. Army, his job search and attending Harvard Business School, as well as his marriage</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Frank Jones discusses going to work at Scott Paper Company</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Frank Jones discusses joining the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Frank Jones talks about MIT's TRP - Technology, Race, and Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Frank Jones describes conflicts in the administration of Massachusetts Institute of Technology</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Frank Jones discusses his attempts to combat racial disparities in the treatment of students at MIT</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Frank Jones describes leaving MIT to teach at Morehouse College</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Frank Jones talks about retiring, moving to Atlanta, Georgia and his resignation from the Board of Directors of CIGNA</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Frank Jones talks about the results of his resignation from the CIGNA Board of Directors</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Frank Jones discusses notable black professors</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Frank Jones talks about his work at Morehouse College, Warren Buffett and the Coca-Cola Lecture Series</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Frank Jones talks about how he would like to be remembered and his legacy</a>







Frank Jones describes his experience as a member of the Hasty Pudding club as well as the notable graduates of Harvard University
Well, tell me about--this is also--$$By the way, in, in, at Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts], again, now, this was important to me. As far as I know, I became the first black admitted to the Hasty Pudding--there were finer clubs at Harvard, and the Hasty Pudding is not a finer club. But I was admitted to the Hasty Pudding in my senior year. And that was because a guy by the name of David Stone and the Stones had given money to Palmer Memorial Institute which is ten miles from Greensboro [North Carolina] and Dr. Brown, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, was a great friend of the family. And I told Dr. Brown this story that David had, had--and she said, Frank, as far as I know, you were the first one since Bill Lewis, which may or may not have been so. But at any rate, David Stone, whose family loved Palmer, called me up one day, and he said, I want you to join the Hasty Pudding, and if you don't have enough money, we will help you.$$What is the Hasty Pudding?$$It is a, they--it would be sort of like a secret society at Andover, except it's a lot of people. But they put on this Hasty Pudding show every year, which makes them famous, the men in those days would act the roles of women and it was, you know, hilarious, you know, boys being boys, if you will. And it was a very important thing.$$Because this is War time, some of the years leading up to your graduation, was there anything in particular that you remember about that time?$$Well, you know, the class of which I was a part was roughly half veterans and half those of us who came direct from high school. And that distinguished it because, you know, you had these veterans, and a lot of the football players, by the way, some of the better football players were veterans. But I'll tell you who was the captain of the team in my junior year, was Kenny O'Donnell, who became Chief of Staff to John F. Kennedy. And Bobby Kennedy was on the football team. I knew Bobby, not well, but I knew him. And one of my classmates, for instance, became a federal district--one of my football classmates, a guy by the name Lazoni (ph.) became a federal district judge and a very distinguished one there in Massachusetts because Teddy Kennedy [Senator Ted Kennedy] championed his cause. So--