In Memory: Ray Jones
The NOVA community is greatly saddened by the untimely loss of Annandale Coordinator of Counseling, Ray Jones, who died of a heart attack while mowing his lawn on May 4, 2014, at the age of 40. He was a devoted husband and father of three young daughters.
“Ray was a beloved member of the NOVA community and he will be greatly missed,” Annandale Provost Barbara Saperstone said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Ray’s family.”
A graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Jones started working for NOVA as the Annandale veterans counselor in July 2007 after serving with the D.C. College Access Program, which provides counseling and financial assistance to students who might otherwise never have the opportunity to attend or graduate from college.
In 2010, Jones was promoted to Annandale assistant coordinator for student integrity and conduct, where he heard individual student conduct cases and developed a program to educate the campus community about the Code of Conduct and appropriate student behavior.
“Ray had a way of resolving conduct cases that was truly magical,” said Annandale Dean of Students Ellen Fancher-Ruiz. “He had the ability to be kind and firm at the same time. Students who worked with Ray genuinely liked and respected him.”
In 2012, Jones became the Annandale coordinator of counseling, where his work was widely praised. “Ray was a wonderful leader who worked collaboratively with the counseling staff team members to implement creative counseling initiatives,” said Fancher-Ruiz. “He was an outstanding professional and a wonderful human being.”
“Ray was the epitome of positivity and goodwill within the workplace,” added Manassas Dean of Students Mark Kidd. “His infectious good nature will always be the model to emulate.”
All Annandale Student Services Center offices were closed the Monday after Jones’ death to honor his memory.
“Ray was a mentor and friend to everyone who worked in Student Services. He was kind and giving,” said Jessie Zahorian, who was named Annandale’s interim coordinator of counseling. Zahorian added that her favorite quote from Jones was “I appreciate you.”
Many of Jones’ colleagues attended the funeral service held May 15 at the House of Praise in Washington, D.C., the church where he and his wife were married. The Annandale Campus is planning a memorial for the Fall semester to celebrate his life and time at NOVA.
The Ray Jones Educational Fund has been established through the NVCC Educational Foundation and contributions to this fund will be used to provide college accounts for his daughters.
“Our goal is to raise $65,000 by September 2014 and contributions can be made by check, online or through payroll deduction,” said Center for Academic Assistance Coordinator Kimberly Wright (AN), who attended college with Jones.
To learn how you can contribute to this fund, please see the Flyers section of this edition of Intercom.