Jones graduated magna cum laude from the university in 1950, when he earned his bachelor’s degree in government. He went on to receive a master’s degree in industrial relations from the University of Illinois in 1951 and a juris doctor from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1956. Prior to joining the Law School faculty in 1969, he forged a successful career with the US Department of Labor in the earliest days of equal employment and affirmative-action policy.
UW Law’s first black professor, Jones retired from teaching in 1993, yet his impact is still felt. Notably, he developed the William H. Hastie Teaching Fellowship in 1973, a nationally regarded LLM degree program that prepares lawyers from historically underrepresented groups to become law professors. This pioneering program was the first of its kind and has been the longest-running such program in the country. In 2013, the Wisconsin Law Review commemorated Jones’s accomplishments with a series of tribute essays written by colleagues and former Hastie fellows.
Lincoln University established its Hall of Fame in 2000 to recognize its most prestigious alumni for their accomplishments. The 2014 honorees were inducted at a ceremony on July 12.