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K-State Today

December 15, 2011



Alumnus crosses item off bucket list with gift to K-State

By Andrew Zender

Approximately four years ago, George Jones was reunited with and took an AT-6 plane "out for a spin," aircraft he hadn't flown since his days as an Air Force flight instructor during World War II. His passion continues today as he flies his

It's not every day that you hear a person's bucket list includes a major gift to a university. In the case of George Jones, Wichita, a gift to K-State was a top priority — and with a contribution of $100,000 to the department of geology, he's helping the department renovate a 50-year-old laboratory space into a modern geochemistry teaching lab.

A native of Simpson, Jones graduated from K-State's College of Arts and Sciences in 1948, at which time he found himself vying for his first job as a geologist at Standard Oil alongside graduates from Ivy League schools. He credits the education, skills and knowledge he gained at K-State with giving him the competitive edge needed to begin his career, which has taken him from Venezuela to Texas to Kansas.

"When I was getting started in my career, I was competing for jobs against students from very prestigious universities," Jones said. "Because of the success I've had, I’ve always wanted to give back to K-State."

"This not only reinforces our determination to educate Kansas students for productive careers, but will advance our ability to attract the best new faculty to K-State to sustain that mission," said George Clark, professor and interim head of the department of geology.  "The George Jones Geochemistry Teaching Laboratory will serve to remind our students of our long-standing tradition of excellence in career education."

Philanthropic contributions to K-State are coordinated by the Kansas State University Foundation. The foundation staff works with university partners to build lifelong relationships with alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students through involvement and investment in the university.