Susan Seeker Jones and Jim Jones

New ‘rescue fund’ helps Spartans stay in school

The Seeker Rescue Fund at UNC Greensboro will provide relief to students whose education may be at risk due to a short-term lack of resources. Susan Seeker Jones ’78 and Jim Jones Jr. hope that their $125,000 gift will inspire others to support UNCG’s scholars.

Susan knows from experience that not all families can provide financial support to their children and that academic progress can be interrupted when resources are scarce. She came from a military family and faced financial hardships as a first-generation college student. 

But first-generation students are not the only ones who face challenges. Students of all backgrounds can find their academic progress at risk and rescue funds address this problem. 

“Seeker Rescue Grants make the University and our students more successful by providing the opportunity to address the specific needs of our students, providing each with the necessary funding to continue taking classes and complete their studies,” says Dr. Debbie Storrs, provost and executive vice chancellor of UNCG. 

The fund will provide microgrants to cover tuition shortfalls that could lead to an enrollment cancellation. “Even if students have scholarships, they can still fall short of the funds it takes to stay in school,” says Susan. “Sometimes $300 is the difference between staying or having to pack it in and take the bus home.”

The Joneses want to see as many Spartans as possible achieve their own American dream through education. 

That sounds like Susan’s story. Her father retired from the military and had a job with the local newspaper, but the family did not have the means to send her to school without scholarships and income from her own employment.

Her husband Jim’s family also has a vivid story of reaching for the American dream. In the early 1900s, his grandfather was a child laborer in textile mills, but after two generations of hard work and entrepreneurship, the Jones family is able to give back.

Susan and Jim believe that each student’s journey to educational excellence benefits local communities with long-term rewards. “Not only do recipients become bigger contributors to society, but they will end up inspiring somebody back home,” Jim says. “They’ll say, ‘I see where he came from or where she came from – if they can do it, I can do it!’” 

Susan has given back through previous gifts, one of which supported the revitalization of the Alumnae Secretaries Garden outside the Alumni House. In collaboration with UNCG, she introduced new design features and some special items: irises and flowering shrubs to memorialize her parents, Iris and “Bud” Seeker.

Now, she wants this rescue fund to bolster UNCG’s thriving culture of care. “We want students to know that we care for them and believe they are important,” she says. “To me, they are true ‘seekers.’ Rescue funds are about giving folks the education to get started on the ladder of success. UNCG is doing a great job of that.”