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LaWanza Spears
Communications Assoc. to the Dean
School of Divinity


School of Divinity to Rename Library to Commemorate Visionary Former Dean

Dean Lawrence Neale Jones

WASHINGTON (January 15, 2010) - The Howard University School of Divinity will celebrate the life and legacy of Lawrence Neale Jones, Ph.D., who as dean steered the school through its greatest period of expansion, by renaming its library after him at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 20, during its Opening Convocation.

Jones, a giant within the religious education and church communities, died on Dec. 7, 2009.

Much of the school’s growth occurred under Jones’ leadership from 1975 to 1991. During his tenure, the school moved from the University’s main campus to a site on Randolph Street in northwest Washington and finally to its current location at 1400 Shepherd St. NE.

Student enrollment increased, as did faculty and the school’s resources. It was also during his tenure that “Great is thy Faithfulness” was adopted as the school song.

School of Divinity Dean Alton Pollard III, Ph.D., said naming the library in Jones’ honor immortalizes his contributions to Howard, the School of Divinity, Washington and the nation.

“Dean Jones, as he will always be remembered, was one of the forerunners in the School of Divinity’s history,” Pollard said. “He led this school for 16 years with foresight and perseverance. All those who are fortunate to matriculate, work, teach or do research here are inheritors of his great sacrifice and beneficence.”

Jones will be remembered as a visionary, scholar, educator, preacher, pastor, mentor, vanguard, statesman, historian and author, Pollard said.

He received a bachelor's degree from West Virginia State College, a master's degree in American History from the University of Chicago, a bachelor of divinity degree from Oberlin College Graduate School of Theology and a doctorate in African American Church History from Yale University.

Jones served as pastor of churches in Ohio, New York City and Washington, D.C., including Church of the Redeemer and Plymouth Congregational. He also served as Dean of the Chapel at Fisk University and Dean of the Faculty and Acting President of Union Theological Seminary, where he was the first African American to hold that position.

The recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, Jones wrote many pastoral pieces, including Soundings, Theological Reflections and Notes from a Preacher's Desk. After his retirement, he wrote African Americans and the Christian Churches, 1619-1860, which was published in 2007 when he was 86 years old.

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