Westminster College is giving recent alumni and students a new voice in steering the institution's future with the creation of a new position on the Board of Trustees.
Ben Jones, a 2014 graduate, will serve as the first Young Trustee in the school's history.
"This new position is an opportunity which excites me and is one avenue through which I can give back to the institution I have loved calling home for the past four years," Jones said in a press release. "Serving as a Young Trustee will be the next chapter in my Westminster story."
According to the press release, the new position was approved by the Board of Trustees in fall 2013. The Young Trustee is a two-year term and includes serving as an ex-officio member of the board's student life committee and enrollment committee among others. The Young Trustee will be nominated as a graduating senior.
"Westminster's Mission includes preparing its students for lives of success, significance and service. Selecting a graduating senior each year to become a member of Westminster's Board of Trustees is one more way we are implementing that Mission," Westminster Board of Trustees Chair Wallace Head said in a statement for the Fulton Sun. "Ben Jones has been an outstanding Westminster student in all respects and I'm very pleased to welcome him to the Board. I'm confident that Ben will be an active and valuable member of the Board."
While at Westminster, Jones has been a member of the Skulls of Seven honor society, served as a resident advisor, senior class vice president with the Student Government Association and vice president of the Student Ambassadors. He also served as secretary/treasurer of the Alpha Chi honor society, vice chairman of the Westminster Honor Commission and as a mentor, leader and counselor for Young Life.
Cinnamon Brown, an assistant professor of history, also endorsed the choice of Jones as the college's first Young Trustee.
"Ben's academic accomplishments and involvement in top societies gives him wonderful insight that can be useful as a Young Trustee," Brown said in the press release. "He has first-hand knowledge of the academic opportunities here on campus and can provide plenty of feedback for the Board on how to maintain or improve the services we can offer our students.
"He has seized every resource and opportunity that we can offer here and turned them into wonderful and authentic learning experiences. Who better to serve as an ex-officio member of the Board than a student who has experienced Westminster to the fullest and is dedicated to seeing it move forward?"
In an interview with the Fulton Sun on Friday afternoon, Jones - a triple major in international studies, transnational studies and Spanish - said he plans to spend the next year in Kansas City working as an apprentice carpenter while he applies to graduate school.
Jones said he is looking forward to the opportunity to serve with the Board of Trustees.
"I thought it said a lot about the college that they're interested in a recent alumnus' perspective," Jones said. "I think it's going to be exciting for me to see how the college runs from the inside."
Jones said he does not have an agenda or any specific goals going into the board. Although his first meeting as a voting member is not until October, he said he plans to attend the board's May meeting as a way to "get my feet wet."
Jones said he sees his job with the Board of Trustees as providing a different point of view.
"I think in a lot of ways I'll serve as a voice for the student body," Jones said. "Because I just spent four years here as a student, I will have a different perspective than someone who graduated in 1974."
Katherine Cummins can be reached at (573) 826-2418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.