4-H Alum Focuses on Eliminating the Opportunity Gap


This February, in honor of Black History Month, 4-H is highlighting alumni that celebrate innovation, diversity, and leadership. This interview is a part of a series of blogs supporting 4-H’s Community Impact program emphasizing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion – an effort sponsored by Nationwide®.

4-H President and CEO, Jennifer Sirangelo, interviewed Dr. Robert Jones, Chancellor of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 4-H alumnus, and member of the National 4-H Council’s Board of Trustees. They spoke about the role of education in eliminating the opportunity gap and the impact 4-H had on his own educational experience.

Growing up as the son of a sharecropper during Jim Crow, Dr. Jones joined 4-H in elementary school. He remembers how, although the meetings were still segregated, the organization helped him develop his leadership skills.

Now as the Chancellor of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, he has spearheaded the university’s initiatives in closing the opportunity gap among the student body. He was instrumental in creating the Illinois Commitment, which offers free tuition and fees to any in-state student from a family making $61,000 or less to provide access to a university experience.

To read the full interview with Dr. Jones, head to 4-H.org

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