Donor supports "Fore!" scholarships
PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Oct. 21, 2013) – The past 10 months have been momentous for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s fledgling PGA golf management program.
On the heels of producing its first group of graduates comes news four new full-ride scholarships will be available a year from now, thanks to a half-million dollar pledge from a Baltimore businessman.
Carnelious Jones’ donation will underwrite financial aid he hopes will inspire minorities and women to pursue careers across the golf industry. Jones has asked UMES to name the scholarships in honor of trail-blazing African-American golfers James Black, Renee Powell, Calvin Peete and the late Ann Gregory.
“Mr. Jones' transformational gift will provide the university's PGA golf management program with much needed resources to recruit motivated students to the program,” said Kimberly Dumpson, who worked with the philanthropist to establish the scholarship program when she was UMES’ lead fundraiser.
The university is one of 20 higher education institutions in the country that offers the unique course of study backed by the PGA of America. UMES is the lone historically black institution with an undergraduate program that combines instruction in how to play professional-level golf with hospitality industry training.
UMES President Juliette B. Bell said Jones’ gift is “an extraordinarily generous gift that we promise to use to achieve his goal and ours – and that is making educational opportunities available to those who deserve and will benefit by it.”
UMES golf management students are all smiles after learning about Carnelious Jones' $500,000 gift during President Juliette Bell's donor recognition event. Photos by Jim Glovier
Jones, a petroleum wholesaler, has emerged as a leading advocate in a growing movement in search of strategies to diversify golf. He asked that the scholarships created by his gift be named in honor of the four golf legends considered pioneers in their era.
Jones recently was named a national trustee of the First Tee, “an international youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to young people.”
First Tee’s focus is on working with young people from elementary-through-high school. Jones sees UMES and its golf management program as the next step in “growing the game” among a more diverse group of athletes and casual players.
“It’s about opportunity and access,” Jones said.
“The University of Maryland Eastern Shore seems like the natural place where young people can come and earn a degree and learn what it takes to be involved in the business of golf,” he said.
Jones, 59, is the epitome of the self-made entrepreneur. He grew up on share-cropper farm in southwestern Tennessee where his family raised cotton. He joined the military after graduating from high school in the early 1970s and served five years in the U.S. Navy, including a tour of duty in Vietnam aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga. It’s where he learned to be a plumber.
After an honorable discharge with citations, Jones earned a master plumber’s credential – which he still holds – and started his own business. He eventually invested in a small oil tank farm, a decision that has enabled him to grow a petroleum distribution business domestically and internationally. By the late 1980s his clients included FedEx, International Paper, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the state of Maryland.
Through a state contract, he did business with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore providing it with fuel. His youngest child, Carnelious Jones II, graduated from UMES in 2006.
His interest in and commitment to golf expanded earlier this year when he invested in a golf shoe and apparel company, A-GAME Global Sports. He is a past winner of UMES’ Art Shell Celebrity Golf Classic fundraiser, and carries a handicap in the upper teens.
Jones also operates a consulting firm; Carnelious Jones & Associates.
In addition to his appointment as the First Tee’s first African-American national trustee, he also serves on the advisory board of Texas Southern University’s College of Science and Technology, the Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation Inc., a black maritime history organization, and on a U.S. Department of Energy advisory panel working to help African nations.
“Maybe my gift will start a dialogue around the dinner table in African-American homes that they can have access to game through a UMES degree,” Jones said, adding he hopes other historically black institutions might follow the university’s lead.
Jones said he sees plenty of opportunities in the game for minorities; playing competitively as well as recreationally, working in the industry or being a supplier of goods and services.
Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355.