Six Generations Call Southern Utah University Home

Published: March 27, 2020 | Author: Kenzie Lundberg | Read Time: 3 minutes

Jones Family TimelineNearly 125 years ago, the founders of Southern Utah University believed so strongly in the power of education that they risked their lives to build the school. Among those dedicated men and women was Lehi Willard Jones, a man willing to mortgage his home to support the dream of SUU. 

With that sacrifice, Jones began a legacy of his own through SUU and five generations later, his great-great-great-granddaughter Maren Marie Street will attend SUU in the fall. 

As Maren begins her time at SUU, she joins countless members of the Jones family that have attended and graduated from SUU. She follows directly in the footsteps of her mother Sharlene Rose Street, her grandmother Laurie Jones Rose, her great-grandparents York Fielding and Evelyn Jones, her great-great-grandfather Erastus “Rass” Lunt Jones, and of course her great-great-great-grandfather, Lehi Willard Jones. Maren is the sixth generation to call SUU home and will be the fifth generation to graduate from the University her grandfather helped build.  

“I am honored to continue the legacy of my family,” said Maren. “To think I may be walking or standing in the same spot my family did is really cool.” 

Over the last 100 years, education, and SUU, have been cornerstones for the Jones family. Lehi W. Jones, along with Henry Leigh and David Bulloch, mortgaged his home to provide funding and guarantee pay to the teachers once the new Branch Normal School was built. After Old Main was complete, Jones’s son, Rass Jones, was one of the first students to attend and graduate from Branch Normal School. And Evelyn Jones, Rass’s daughter-in-law, taught for a time at the University. Today, Jones family carries on the traditions of their academic years by attending Homecoming, Forever Red and Founders Week each year. 

“SUU runs deep in our blood,” said Sharlene. “SUU isn't just SUU for us, it’s so much of our family culture. As a kid, I would come to SUU and play on the lawn. We had family reunions here because it was so much a part of us.”

From the beginnings of SUU with the lone Old Main, SUU has significantly grown to encompass the 130-acre campus today. While the landscape may have changed, the Jones family believes the same dedication to education that was present at the founding still guides the campus today. They are drawn to the personalized, hometown feel of SUU, and the people that call it home. 

Throughout the last century, obtaining a quality education has been a driving force in the Jones family. For the students thinking about continuing their education, the Jones family offers the advice to keep a balance between play and work. Be prepared to work hard, but also take the time to socialize and make friends, because those relationships will last a lifetime.

“It’s hard, but stick to it,” said Sharlene. “You don’t realize until down the road, it’s only four or five years. It’s a tiny window in your life, but it makes such a huge difference later. Even if you don’t think you will use your degree, you cannot replace education.”

“Just keep learning, in any way possible, even if it’s hard it’s worth it,” said Laurie. “I think back to Lehi W. Jones, when they had just arrived in Cedar City. They sacrificed so much for education. If they felt education was that important, it must be.” 

The Jones family has built a legacy of learning spanning six generations and more than a century, starting with one man, Lehi W. Jones, and his dedication to the founding of SUU. See the story brought to life through six generations of photos

Jones Family Legacy Photo Story

Tags: Founders Week

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