Jones, who played for 19 seasons with the Braves starting in 1993, holds the Braves’ record for career on base percentage and places third in the team’s all-time home run list. In addition, he received the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1999 and the National League Silver Slugger Award in both 1999 and 2000.
Michael Kloss, Emory’s executive director of University events and chief of protocol, wrote in an email to the Wheel that Jones’ career with the Braves “should be an inspiring story to the senior class.” He noted that loyalty to a single employer — or team, in this case — is “not necessarily the expectation of many entering the workforce today.”
“[It] will be a story worth hearing,” Kloss wrote.
Goizueta Business School senior Bukie Adebo, who served as the chair of the Class Day speaker student selection committee, mentioned that Jones is an excellent Atlanta connection, with many Emory students having watched him play during their childhoods.
“He was thrilled when we first contacted him,” Adebo said. “He was so excited and very enthusiastic.”
Kloss wrote that Jones has also offered to help encourage seniors to participate in their schools’ class gift campaigns.
Seniors in Emory College, the Goizueta Business School and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing who participate in this campaign by April 19 will be able to partake in a drawing to win four tickets for Jones’ personal seats in the SunTrust section at an upcoming Braves game as well as a baseball bat signed that Jones has signed, Kloss wrote. The tickets, worth $1,200, will include all-you-can-eat-and-drink privileges.
“He did [this] all on his own which is pretty awesome,” Adebo said.
She said the selection process for the Class Day speaker involved the formation of a committee consisting of students who have been heavily involved on campus in the past four years. After compiling a list of possible speakers and sending out a link at which students could vote, the University reached out to different agents to determine who was available in Emory’s Class Day time frame and price range.
According to Adebo, Emory also considered Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and actor and director Tyler Perry.
This year, though, is not the first time that Emory will bring an Atlanta Braves player to campus. In 1995, Kloss expained, Emory awarded an honorary degree to Henry “Hank” Aaron. The last Class Day to feature an athlete was Peyton Manning in 2005.
Asst. News Editor Dustin Slade contributed reporting.
— By Jordan Friedman