“Living a life of principle and in service to people is an exciting way to live your life,” said Stuart Jones ’78, former U. S. Ambassador to Iraq. Jones was speaking to the Hyde community on Tuesday, a community he knows and which played a part in his life-long decision making process. Jones was at the Hyde School to be inducted into the 2016 Alumni Hall of Honor, for which he traveled a great distance from his graduation in 1978 to today, which turned out to be a journey of years and of miles.
Jones’ talk centered on his life in the US State Department, diplomacy, and his time as ambassador to Iraq, which he just finished two weeks previously. He has served in various capacities at the State Department for almost 30 years and was heading back to Washington after the ceremony.
When asked about his life at Hyde and any tough thing he had to do, Jones related a story from his wrestling years when he struggled to keep his weight down to compete. He was successful until Christmas break, during which he ate enough to leave him 21 pounds overweight.
Courage was the Hyde word he chose to describe his life, he believes we all can practice courage when we seek answers and “do the tough stuff.” When asked how he was able to make tough decisions, he replied,
“If you are committed to a life of purpose you will succeed in your mission.” He explained that when faced with tough decisions, you must always think about your purpose, and then the answers will become clear.
He gave some examples of times he has had to make tough decisions where lives were at stake, and also talked about the dangers and challenges of working within a culture that is full of political unrest. Using a map of Iraq behind him at the podium, he was able to show the students, faculty, and staff the locations of the events he related.
Jones’ remarks were well received by the Hyde community. Senior Jason Filios said of the talk,
“Mr. Jones came on Tuesday it was a pretty great opportunity for us. He has been in the positions we are in now. He went to Hyde School. He sat in the same seats and went through the same meetings that we’re going through now. He’s been very successful in his life and what he wanted to do.
The point that really struck home for me was his focus on finding your way to serve. He found his purpose. He believed in it, and he gave everything he could, and he seems to really believe in what he is doing and he’s very happy with what he is doing and it really inspired me to find my purpose and got me a lot more excited about my plans for the future.
It was also good to hear about the current situation in Iraq with ISIS sweeping through and taking over Mosul and a lot of the northern half of the country and what our plans are to deal with that; and where Iraq stands with democracy and the influences from the rest of the Islamic state.”
After Jones’ talk, he was kind enough to speak one-on-one with some of the students who had further questions, and was very impressed with their knowledge of current affairs, “unlike what I remember from my days at Hyde,” he joked.
It was such an honor for all who attended to hear Stuart’s incredible story of a life dedicated making things better for everyone.
About Stuart Jones
In 2014, Stuart Jones was sworn in as Ambassador to Iraq by U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry following confirmation. Stuart had previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Hailing from suburban Philadelphia, Stuart arrived at Hyde in the summer of 1975. An outstanding student, Stuart challenged himself in a wide variety of endeavors. In addition to captaining a strong wrestling team, he also established himself in journalism, student governance, and in the performing arts, portraying a memorable John Wayne in the 1978 America’s Spirit production. He graduated from Hyde in 1978 with Leadership Honors and the L. Robert Porteous Community Service Award.
Following Hyde, Stuart went on to receive his B.A. from Duke University and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania whereupon he embarked on a nearly 30 year State Department career that has found him in many parts of the globe including El Salvador, Colombia, Somalia, Turkey, and Egypt. As staff aide to Madeline Albright and in the State Department’s Executive Secretariat, he visited more than 70 countries. He has also worked in Washington and at the U. S. Mission to the United Nations.
Stuart and his wife Barbara are the parents of three children.
About the Alumni Hall of Honor
The Alumni Hall of Honor, established in 2016 as part of Hyde’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, was founded to recognize and honor those Hyde Alumni who exemplify one or more of the 5 Words that is a hallmark of their Hyde education – Courage, Integrity, Leadership, Curiosity, Concern – in their professional and personal life.
Stuart Jones ’78 was one of the six 2016 inductees.