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Coming Full Circle: Past and Present Combine for Graduate Commencement  

John Jones

John Jones, M.A. '04, has devoted himself and his career thus far, to the pursuit of the greater good, both at home and abroad. On May 12, he will return to Seton Hall to perform a different sort of service: acting as the Commencement Speaker for the Graduate Commencement and Hooding Ceremony. After sharing professional and personal reflections with the graduating Class of 2017, Jones will officially welcome the Class as members of a new community of colleagues, the Diplomacy Alumni Association.

Jones currently serves as Chief of Staff to United States Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus, and former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. In his role as Chief of Staff, Jones acts as the leading political strategist while simultaneously managing both the Washington D.C., and district offices. Before leading Congressman Cleaver's office, Jones worked as a senior staffer in the office of Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). While holding this position, he had the opportunity to work on several consequential pieces of legislation including Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010, and the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization act of 2013. In addition to his legislative accomplishments, Jones was a highly sought after consultant on issues of U.S.-Israeli security due to the extensive knowledge he demonstrated as Senator Schumer's principal Middle East strategist.

After earning his bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Clark Atlanta University in Georgia, Jones earned Master's degrees in both Diplomacy and International Relations as well as Corporate and Public Communications, both from Seton Hall University. The diversity of this education has provided Jones with opportunities to develop a wide range of skills and knowledge that have made him a continual asset to a variety of public institutions since his graduation from Seton Hall. Upon completing his Master's degrees, Jones was awarded a Congressional Fellowship with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and headed to D.C. to begin his career on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer. A year later, Jones left the U.S. to serve at the Organization for Security and Cooperation [OSCE] in Copenhagen, Denmark as an International Fellow and Speechwriter for the President of the Parliamentary Assembly. After this stint in support of intergovernmental security, Jones returned to the political nerve center of the United States, working as a Homeland Security staffer and an aide on the campaign of former President Barack Obama. Through his fearless pursuit of professional opportunity and fresh experiences, Jones has cultivated a career that many of those donning a cap and gown on Friday, May 12 will look to learn from and emulate.

In discussing his return to campus, Jones said he is, "experiencing immense pride and joy knowing that just 13 years ago I was in the same position as the graduates." Offering the School a small preview of his remarks, Jones notes that the first and most essential lesson of his career is, "it is important to distinguish yourself by taking tremendous pride and care in knowing that you are the most informed, hardest working and determined master of your craft." Jones' philosophy on the dedication and passion required to be successful illustrates a level of commitment to the field that does not grow solely from the mind, but begins in the soul. Past and present, members of the School of Diplomacy devote themselves to improving the world around them, using their extensive knowledge, well-honed skills, and deep-seeded zeal to design a better home for humanity. This life-blood unites our Diplomacy community, no matter how far from campus our journeys take us. In the words of Jones, "….even though individual accomplishments are important, becoming a servant leader in our global society is what matters the most."

Categories: Nation and World

For more information, please contact:

  • School of Diplomacy
  • (973) 275-2515
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