Julie Annette Jones ’90 will complete her first year as chair of the University’s Board of Trustees this summer. In the nearly 24 years since Illinois State obtained its own governing board, Jones is the first African American and the first woman to hold the leadership position.

“Serving as chair is not about me. It is yet another avenue of service and to be a role model for Redbirds,” said Jones. Her degrees were in political science and psychology. She earned her juris doctorate from Emory University and is an attorney at her law firm, Julie Annette Jones P.C., in Oak Forest.

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“Since my time as a student and continuing now, the education and opportunities I received at Illinois State University have opened many doors to me as a black, female, first-generation college student from the south side of Chicago,” Jones said. “It is a pleasure to serve in this role because I want to assist my alma mater to become better.”

Jones worked 15 years in corporate law and two years in estate planning before starting her firm. Beyond her career, she is actively engaged as the immediate past president of the National Council of Negro Women—Chicago Central Section. She serves on the Board of Trustees at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

Her campus involvement includes serving on the University’s Attorneys Advisory Board, as a past president of the Black Colleagues Association, and formerly on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. As the Board of Trustees’ chair, she exemplifies the possibilities available for underrepresented students and alumni despite their economic or political status.

Jones holds a seat on the board until January 2025. She intends to continue contributing in every way possible throughout her term, and encourages other Redbirds to become involved.

“Your opinions and contributions matter at Illinois State University,” she said. “Your continued service and dedication are recognized.”