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Bill Jones '57 - September Donor of the Month & Ava's Angel

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

September 6, 2019, Bill Jones wrote a letter back to Ava-Nicole Masseria who had written him a Thank you note in July. First, Ava was Tickled Pink that Bill thought so highly of her that he would write to her and secondly, that he made another $500 dollar donation in her honor. She brought me a copy of Bill’s letter and stood there tall and proud. You see, she knew that she was already helping to “Pay it Forward” by raising additional money with her “thank you note.” .

Here is an excerpt:

Dear Ava…..

It made me proud, as a founder of the Blue White Scholarship Foundation, of what we have accomplished for Villanova and its students over the years. You certainly seem to be on the way to success as a Villanovan with your selection of a Computer Science major, your work with Cisco Systems and Deutsche Bank, and your proficiency in writing. Many students may not realize that writing is a key to future success no matter the field she or he may choose.

I speak from experience. As a clueless freshman engineering student a few eons ago, I tried to flunk out but VU wouldn’t let me. I switched to English, ended up as editor of The Villanovan, and graduated on the Dean’s list with a 3.6.

This resulted in a life-long career of journalism and corporate public relations in Philadelphia that netted me the Villanova Alumni Medal and election to the Philadelphia Public Relations Association Hall of Fame, all because Villanova stuck with me when I most probably didn’t deserve it.

Additionally, due to your letter and your pledge to pay your grant forward in the future, I am sending an a second donation of $500, in your honor, to the Foundation”— God bless you and your sister—Bill

John William (Bill) Jones was born on June 2, 1934, in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his twin sister, Barbara. After attending St. Augustine High School in Brooklyn, he was accepted at Villanova in September, 1953, potentially as an engineer. Bad choice. He didn’t like math anyway. Almost flunking out in his freshman year, he switched to Liberal Arts, graduating in 1957 as an English Major, on the Dean’s List, and serving with still long-time friend Bob Strayton, as co-editor of The Villanovan.

Bill’s first job out of Villanova was as a copy boy, then news desk clerk, at The New York Times. He then followed Villanovan Tom Smith to Lynchburg, Virginia, as a reporter on the Lynchburg News, then the Roanoke (Va.) Times, before being hired as a reporter by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin in 1962.

He was hired as manager of Media Relations and later Public Affairs by the School District of Philadelphia in 1965 where he served for 22 years before joining the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO) in 1987 as manager of Media Relations. He then went with PECO’s parent, Exelon Corporation, as its nuclear spokesperson.

While at the school district and PECO, Bill also served for ten years as an NCAA ice hockey referee in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, officiating games at Villanova, Penn, Penn State, Princeton and Maryland. He also won golf club championships in New York and Pennsylvania.

His citations include newswriting awards in Virginia and Pennsylvania; election to the Philadelphia Public Relations Association’s Hall of Fame; National President’s Award from the National School Public Relations Association, and the Villanova General Alumni Association award for outstanding services to Villanova. He also served as president of the Blue White Scholarship Foundation.

Bill now lives in Punta Gorda, Florida, where he continues his newspaper career as a correspondent and columnist for the Charlotte (FL) Sun. Isn’t it ironic that Ava founded and that Bill spent his life in the media relations business?

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