AdPR Alumni Spotlight: David S. Jones

AdPR alumni David Jones
David S. Jones is a public relations graduate of Grady College and currently works as the Senior Director for Development at the University of Georgia.

What was your major and when did you graduate?
1992 ABJ. Public Relations.  
2002 M.Ed. Human Resources & Organizational Development
What activities were you involved while in Grady/UGA?
Collegiate 4-H, All-Campus Homecoming Committee, Mortarboard, University Union, Glee Club, Golden Key
What are you doing now and how did you get there?
"When I grow up, I want to be a fund raiser," said no one ever. While I have always worked in higher education, my first job out of college was as a Student Activities Director at Gordon College. I then came back to my alma mater to work in alumni relations and fundraising for the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. I have now worked in various external relations capacities at UGA for 19 years. Presently, I primarily work with Annual & Special Giving programs and with organizational database operations for all alumni and fundraising activities.
What is your day-to-day like at your job? (Any interesting projects that you can share with us?)
I enjoy the opportunities my job gives me to interact with alumni and friends of the university to talk about and encourage their philanthropy. As a university administrator, however, my daily activities include spending a lot of time in meetings, troubleshooting systems and business process issues, and ensuring that workflow stays productive and mission focused. I still get involved in the creative process of writing copy, editing fundraising appeals, and redesigning campaign messaging--and the real pleasure of my work comes in campus interactions where the measure of success is seen in the difference private support makes on the educational experience at UGA.
What part of your Grady experience (classes, professors, etc.) has been helpful in your career today?
Without question, the strongest career skill I honed at Grady was writing. Concise, persuasive writing is the heart of every news story, advertisement, or fund raising appeal. I have opportunities to instruct development professionals all over the country, and my primary advice is to be a communications expert. Know your message. Believe the message. And know how to deliver that message.  
What is your favorite Grady memory?
I will never forget being a student of Wally Eberhardt, a consummate print journalist veteran, who would quickly assess the enrollment of his News Writing class to determine which majors were represented. He made a point to single out the AdPR students from those in newspaper, magazine and broadcast media. He would then espouse and elaborate that "Public Relations is NOT Journalism," which made those of us in non-news-reporting disciplines at least a bit more confident of future career earning potential over our classmates but even less confident about success in his class! It took me awhile to fully appreciate his perspective, but the distinction of persuasive versus informative communications has stuck with me--particularly as those lines arguably are no longer clearly drawn in our industries.
What advice do you have for current AdPR students?
Continue to hone your practice. We are never "done" learning or improving on our abilities as communicators. Bobby Knight said, "All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things."   

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