Local entrepreneur selected as speaker for fall commencement

By Hailey Heinz and Ricky Thompson

The Office of the President announced yesterday that Hubert “Hubie” Jones, an entrepreneur with a background in higher education, will be the speaker at the fall commencement ceremony Aug. 31.

Kay Onan, special assistant to President Richard Freeland, said during Freeland’s presidency commencement speakers have typically been “local heroes.”

“Generally it’s somebody who’s very important in our community who has maybe had far-reaching kinds of influence,” Onan said.

Jones is currently Social Justice Entrepreneur in Residence at City Year, according to the Office of the President. He is also the co-chair of the City to City Boston program of City Year, which is a youth service corporation and think-tank.

“He’s been very active in the social justice and civic arena of Boston,” Onan said. “He has been particularly focused – though not completely – on children’s kinds of advocacy and racial kinds of issues and particularly the intersection of those two kinds of issues.”

In addition to his civic work, Jones is dean emeritus at the Boston University School of Social Work, and has also worked as an administrator at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts at Boston and Roxbury Community College, where he was interim president for a short time in the 1990s.

“They turned to him because of both his administrative and community skills,” Onan said. “He was seen as a stabilizing force.”

“When we get a speaker or honorary degree recipients we really are looking for people who exemplify the kind of thing that we want to hold up to our students as a life well-lived that has made a difference,” Onan said. “Particularly when it’s been done in service to others instead of himself, and he has certainly done all of those sorts of things.”

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