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Transylvania community turns out to cheer Paul Jones after last class

Jones being cheered in a hallway

Transylvania faculty, staff and students lined a second-floor hallway of the Carpenter Academic Center today to applaud longtime Professor of Religion Paul Jones after his last class.

Jones, who is retiring after 33 academic years, leaves a lasting impact on the school.

“I do not know a Transylvania without Paul Jones, and I suspect that’s true for many,” said Carole Barnsley, associate professor of religion. “He will be missed, but he leaves behind a legacy of an excellent work ethic, a loyalty to the Transy community and a well-established religion program that I am honored to get to continue.”

Jones will be remembered for building the religion program into two tracks: Western and Non-Western. “Few schools our size do that,” he said.

He also helped secure and implement a grant from the Lilly Endowment, which brought in world-renowned scholars, social activists and educators focusing on the exploration of vocation. “This is at the heart and soul of the mission of Transylvania—to help our students not only cultivate the self, but also to discern their life’s purpose and path.”

Professor of Religion Paul Jones received the April Essential Piece Award after his last class today in the Carpenter Academic Center.

Additionally, his May term trips abroad have impacted students’ lives. “I find travel trips to be the ideal classroom,” he said. “They are a full-immersion experience.”

Jones is getting ready to leave on his last May term excursion—to Israel, Egypt and Jordan. He’s never been on a trip to three countries with students before. “It was designed to be my swan song,” he said.

As for today’s reception, Jones said it was “overwhelming” and he is “most appreciative” of those who turned out to wish him well.

What does he plan to do after Transy? “Breathing, living, reading, writing, traveling, enjoying, enriching, loving.”