Late chemist donates $200K to school foundation in Buckingham

Published 10:20 pm Wednesday, August 12, 2015

About $200,000 has been donated to Buckingham County Public School’s education foundation by the estate of the late Dr. Samuel Jones, a 1939 graduate of Buckingham High School.

According to Division Superintendent Dr. Cecil Snead, who announced the donation during a Wednesday school board meeting, the money will be invested and the interest accrued will be used for two $2,500 annual scholarships for graduating high school seniors seeking to study STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) subjects. The remainder of the funds from interest would be used for new equipment for math and science classes at the high school.

“My uncle loved education,” said John Holmes, the trustee of the estate, of his late uncle.

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A plaque of appreciation to the Jones Family was accepted by John and his wife, Shirley, from the school division.
“I say this with all humility: he gave his estate to education,” said Holmes.

District Three Representative and School Board Chairman H. Ed Wise called the donation very generous and said that the board was very appreciative of the money.

The late Dr. Samuel Jones works in a laboratory. (Provided Photo)

The late Dr. Samuel Jones works in a laboratory. (Provided Photo)

Jones, who was a chemist and research scientist, was selected to participate in the Manhattan Project to develop the world’s first atomic bomb, according to Holmes.

“He focused on … this ground-breaking work because he and other scientists believed all Americans needed to understand what was at stake with the dawning of this new age, the Atomic Age,” Holmes said.

Over the years, what Dr. Jones learned excited him and he started what would become a lifelong quest for knowledge, said Holmes. “To Sam, knowledge was everything. He often said that knowledge was the key to success in life. In later life, Sam remarked many times that he believed too many young Americans had lost their desire to learn. He worried that these young people had adopted an entitlement mentality instead of attacking the challenges they faced in life with the same pioneer spirit that made America great.”

Holmes recalled a conversation he had with his uncle after he had retired where he said, “I hope I am never be too old to learn new things. It keeps my mind productive.”

Dr. Jones’ gift to the high school “reflects his dying wish that promising young people in Buckingham County be given the chance to develop their God-given abilities to the fullest,” said Holmes. “His goal in giving these scholarships was to rekindle the desire for excellence in higher education.”

Holmes said that through the new scholarships, his uncle’s example lives on.

Dr. Jones died in April 2014.