Historically Black Fort Valley State University has signed a partnership agreement with Utah State University in Logan. The agreement calls for the development of research collaboration, educational program development, student support, and involvement services, and to maintain and promote channels of cooperation and communication, promote faculty and student exchanges, collaborative training of students, and undertake joint or collaborative research, training, and outreach or public education.
“As an institution, we have much to learn in partnering with an HBCU that is focused on teaching, learning and quality education,” said Robert Wagner, executive vice president of Utah State University. “We have some commonalities, but we also anticipate being able to learn from their experience and better meet the needs of our state and the USU student population.”
Paul Jones, president of Fort Valley State University and an alumnus of Utah State University, added that “I am ecstatic to have two institutions I love and cherish working together to advance opportunities that will have a positive impact on students, research, and training. The partnership between Fort Valley State University and Utah State University demonstrates the power of collaboration and will serve as a model for land-grant and other universities to follow.”
Dr. Jones earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and was a two-sport athlete at Utah State. His wife, Sylvia Jones, is a graduate of the university. The two met and married as students at the university. Both were honored as USU Alumni of the Year in 2012. Both Jones’ children are USU alumni, and their son Isaiah currently works for the university as the orientation and family program coordinator.
Utah State University enrolls more than 24,000 undergraduate students and more than 3,000 graduate students, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up just 1 percent of the undergraduate student body.