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    Sunday, June 23, 2024

    Three Rivers names lecture hall, scholarship fund after president emerita

    Norwich — Many at Three Rivers Community College credit President Emerita Grace Sawyer Jones with the shining facility it now occupies on New London Turnpike. After 13 years leaving her professional and personal marks on the campus, she now has a physical one.

    Jones was honored Friday night at Three Rivers for her continued commitment to the school. Lecture hall B127 was renamed the Dr. Grace Sawyer Jones Lecture Hall, and a newly endowed scholarship fund will support the Grace S. Jones Scholarship for Excellence.

    Bill Stanley, president of the Three Rivers College Foundation, said Jones was instrumental in the college's transition.

    "Throughout the process, she never wavered, never faltered, never lost her nerve and never lost her will to see the college to this great facility," he said.

    Betty Baillargeon, director of institutional advancement for the school, said the event was the final step in the major gift campaign, which Jones pioneered during her tenure. Jones, who served as president of Three Rivers from 2001 to 2013, was the final person to be recognized for contributions to the campaign.

    At the event, Jones said she had chosen B127 partly because of its location, at the front entrance of the school under a vibrant Sol LeWitt mural, and partly because of what goes on inside.

    "Most of all, I chose the lecture hall because we hold our classes in there and we have community gatherings in there," she said. "And if there's anything you know about me, I've always said this is the community's college, and this room symbolizes that."

    Baillargeon said B127 also was chosen because the members of Adventures in Lifelong Learning use that room, and Jones was very close to the program, which provides enrichment classes for area residents age 50 and over.

    "Of all the naming opportunities we have, that was probably the most significant one," she said. In her 20 years at the school, she said it was exciting to see someone like Jones be honored for her personal and professional impact on so many people.

    Mary Pineault, president of Adventures in Lifelong Learning, said the program used to be based at the University of Connecticut. When participants asked for it to be moved due to the strains of commuting, Jones was supportive in bringing it to Three Rivers. Nearly 1,700 community members took classes through the program last semester.

    The newly endowed Adventures in Lifelong Learning Scholarship Fund will provide the scholarship in Jones' name, as well as the Eugene Frank Memorial Scholarship.

    a.hutchinson@theday.com

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