Lieutenant Colonel, Mother and Converse Donor: Meet Karla Jones ‘85

Converse Board of Trustees

Over the next several months, the Converse Annual Fund will spotlight the newest members of the Converse College Board of Trustees. These six individuals support the College with both their time and talent, helping our students to become transformative leaders who see clearly, decide wisely, and act justly. This profile of Karla Jones is the third of the series.

What inspired you to become a member of the Converse College Board of Trustees?

It took me a long time to balance my feelings after I graduated as there was so much going on, but I knew how valuable my time at Converse was. Though I had a few bad experiences and it took some time to work through what those truly meant to me, I was encouraged to come back to campus in the spring of 2018.

Being a member of the Board of Trustees is an honor and I do not take this lightly.

When I stepped onto campus and walked through the tower I started crying and realized that this is where I grew up. I knew in that moment that I wanted to give back to the place that had meant so much to me. Being a member of the Board of Trustees is an honor and I do not take this lightly.

Thinking through your personal goals, what life accomplishments are you most proud of? What would you like to check off next from your bucket list?

First and foremost my greatest accomplishment is raising two phenomenal daughters. They are fantastic entrepreneurs and they followed the footsteps of my mother in the wellness and healing space. From a personal career perspective, I would definitely say my military career in the Air Force. I set out to be the Captain and I wound up being the Lieutenant Colonel, so I am definitely most proud of that. On a personal level, I want to check off having been to my first trip to Egypt, meaning that there will be more than one.

What are some of the overall impacts you hope to make during your tenure on the Converse College Board of Trustees?

I think it is really important to retain Black students. I think improving their overall experience and just ensuring that they understand that they represent a greater purpose and that they understand the meaning of them being students at Converse. I would really love to help them understand a bit of my story, one, so that they understand that they are going to be okay but also to give them some tools to put in their purse to better pave the way for their future.

Why do you think it’s important to give to the Converse Annual Fund? What program/area of Converse will your next philanthropic gift support?

More than ever I think it is important to give back right now given the financial hit that all colleges, universities and Converse have experienced due to a reduction in student population. It is just so important for the longevity of the college. I have been blessed financially and that has been a gift and I want to share that gift. In terms of program/area, I really do not have one. I think that President Newkirk has done a phenomenal job and I think that wherever they deem the money needs to go, I would support that.

During the COVID-19 quarantine, was there a particular activity, project or hobby that you most enjoyed?

I have always enjoyed working out and though I can’t run like I used to, I still do what I can, however I can.

What is one fun need-to-know fact about you?

I absolutely love to travel, preferably overseas. I am struggling right now with everything going on.

Where was your favorite spot on campus to relax when you were a student here? What is your favorite memory of Converse as a student?

The dorm room and spending time with friends was my favorite place. My favorite memory of Converse was having sit-down meals. There is so much value in having a sit-down meal with a group of students. Sometimes we would bring homemade chocolate chip cookies, whole boxes of them and we would just scarf them down. That is my favorite memory.

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