A welcome message:
Dickinson is a world-class institution dedicated to educating global leaders. Ours is a community where students and faculty from 46 countries come together to learn and to hold lively but civil discussions and debates, all within a close-knit community.
I am proud to have the opportunity to lead my alma mater, the college that prepared me for my career as a federal judge, and the college my son attended as did my niece. For us, Dickinson is truly a family affair.
Founded more than 238 years ago by Dr. Benjamin Rush, we were designed to be a revolutionary college, one steeped in the liberal arts and focused on practical education. That revolutionary spirit has allowed us to thrive and innovate throughout our history, and we continue to produce leaders who are unafraid to tackle tough issues, students who have the courage to meet the demands of our time.
For more than 50 years Dickinson has been a leader in global education and today we operate 18 of our own programs around the world. We are recognized as a national leader in sustainability, and at Dickinson, sustainability encompasses critical social, economic and environmental issues. We are an institution focused on our students’ success – both while they are at Dickinson and well after they have graduated.
I look forward to connecting with current and future members of the Dickinson community and continuing the great work of this incredible institution.
John E. Jones III ’77, P’11
John E. Jones III ’77 P’11 will become interim president of Dickinson this summer. He is slated to serve a two-year term.
Jones is retiring as chief judge of the U.S. Middle District Court of Pennsylvania. He was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on July 30, 2002.
Jones has presided over a number of high-profile cases. In 2003, Jones struck down portions of Shippensburg University’s speech code on the basis that it violated the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee. In that same year, Jones ruled in a decision later affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s statute assessing milk producers in order to fund advertising, including the Milk Mustache/got milk® campaign, did not infringe the free speech rights of the producers.
In 2005, Jones presided over the landmark case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District, after which he held that it was unconstitutional to teach intelligent design within a public school science curriculum. In 2006, he ruled that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s ballot access procedures for minor political parties did not violate the Constitution. In 2014, Jones resolved the matter of Whitewood v. Wolf by striking down as unconstitutional Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Before becoming a federal judge, Jones was a lawyer in private practice in his hometown of Pottsville, Pa.
In November 1994, then Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Ridge named Jones as a co-chair of his transition team. In May 1995, Ridge nominated Chief Judge Jones to serve as chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
Jones has received numerous accolades during his career. He received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the Dickinson School of Law, as well as an honorary doctorate in law and public policy from Dickinson College, where he was recognized as one of the 25 most influential graduates in the College’s history. In 2009, the College’s faculty voted to induct Jones into its Phi Beta Kappa chapter.
In 2006, Jones was named by Time Magazine as one of its Time 100 most influential people in the world. He also received a Rave Award for Policy from Wired magazine and was the recipient of the first John Marshall Judicial Independence Award, given by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. In 2009, he was the recipient of the Geological Society of America’s President’s Medal, and in the same year he was inducted into the George Washington Spirit Society.
In 2013, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed Jones to the Committee on Judicial Security, a standing committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, and in 2018 Roberts appointed Jones to the Committee on Space and Facilities.
He is a former member of the Board of Regents of Mercersburg Academy. He has served as an adjunct professor of law at The Penn State Dickinson School of Law.
Born and raised in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, he is a graduate of Mercersburg Academy, Dickinson College and Penn State Dickinson Law.
He and his wife Beth have two children, Meghan and John ’11, and three grandchildren.
We are all Americans, and Democracy Is Our Shared Faith
The following opinion piece by Dickinson interim President John E. Jones III '77, P'11, recently appeared in PennLive/The Patriot-News.