Thankful for an Exceptional Education, Alum Establishes Fellowships

Thomas A. Jones

Thomas A. Jones grew up in central California, a young man committed, not only to his studies, but to athletics as well. Thomas’ high school track coach, a CSU alum, helped to arrange an athletic scholarship for Thomas. He happily accepted the opportunity to become a Ram, and made the move to Fort Collins shortly after graduating from high school.

The first time Thomas saw Colorado State University was the morning he moved into Ellis Hall. He recalls being impressed with how large the campus was at that time, and realizes that the student body and campus are much larger now.

Thomas spent many years at CSU, receiving both a BS in Mathematics, with an emphasis in statistics, in 1964 and a MS in Statistics in 1967. During his studies, Thomas pursued his interest in geology by adding additional courses to his curriculum. During his graduate studies, he supported his advisor and a professor from Northwestern University on a book they were authoring on statistical methods in geology. Thomas then pursued further graduate degrees at Northwestern, completing an MS in Geology in 1968 and his Ph.D. in Mathematical Geology in 1969.

Utilizing this rare combination of studies at the time, Thomas joined the Exxon Production Research Company in Houston, where he worked from 1969 to 2003. His projects focused on computer programming to develop software that modeled the details of the earth’s subsurface and its properties, which was a first such program in the petroleum industry. He also worked on projects for Exxon addressing statistical uncertainty and analysis.

Thomas met his wife, Toby Jones, on a Continental Airlines flight from Denver to Houston, and they married in 1984.

In his retirement, Thomas served as an adjunct professor at Rice University in Houston, where he taught courses until 2016. The courses focused on analysis of environmental data (Geology Department) as well as design and analysis of biological experiments in the ecological field (Bioscience Department).

Thomas is a big believer in interdisciplinary studies and throughout his career has shown interest in the interaction of quantitative methods (mathematics, statistics, and computers) in subject areas like ecology, evolutionary biology and earth sciences.

As time went by, Thomas realized that the education he received at CSU, particularly in statistics, was exceptional and provided an excellent foundation for his later work using and developing statistical methods. This led to his decision to provide financial support for CSU.

Together, Thomas and Toby are committed to CSU and show their support through a legacy gift that has created two fellowships—one benefitting the Warner College of Natural Resources, and the other in the College of Natural Sciences. Both fellowships are currently receiving annual gifts, which are matched by Exxon, with their estate gift fully endowing their fellowships.

This method of funding allows Thomas and Toby to be involved now, meeting students and seeing the benefits of their gifts in action. It also gives them the satisfaction of knowing they have created a special legacy that will support CSU for generations to come.

Add Your Support to CSU

Like Thomas to Toby, you can make a current or deferred gift supporting the future of CSU. For more information, contact the Office of Gift Planning at (970) 491-3414, or to learn more about your giving options.