Dr. Para M. Jones became Stark State College’s fourth president on February 1, 2012.
Prior to returning to Stark State, Dr. Jones was president of Spartanburg Community College in South Carolina, where she expanded enrollment and outreach, opened a new campus, added new academic programs, and spearheaded the planning and fundraising for a new downtown campus in the heart of Spartanburg. She also worked with students to charter the college’s Beta Sigma Psi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa national honorary for two-year colleges.
Before going to Spartanburg, Dr. Jones spent 22 years at Stark State, including several years as vice president overseeing donor relations, marketing and communications, grants administration and student services.
Dr. Jones’ passion for the community college mission is driven by her belief that students are best served by affordable, quality education that leads to rewarding careers. She received the 2013 Greater Stark County ATHENA Leadership Award honoring her for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women and men in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.
With her knowledge of Stark State, the community and local business, Dr. Jones emphasizes the importance of partnerships with local companies, knowing they rely on their local community college to provide skilled graduates.
Dr. Jones holds a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska, an MBA with honors from Ashland University and a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from the University of Mount Union.
She is chair of the Stark County P-16 Compact and serves on the boards of Stark Development Board, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Stark Education Partnership, the Canton Symphony Orchestra, and the Stark and Tuscarawas County Workforce Investment Board (WIB). She is a member of the Ohio Board of Regents’ Commercialization and Technology Transfer Task Force and the board of MAGNET (Manufacturing Growth Network). She also serves on the national board of The Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
She and her husband, Greg, live in Canton, where they raised their twin sons Christopher, an attorney, and Kyle, a lieutenant in the United States Navy.