Interim Dougherty County School Superintendent David Mosely (dark suit) and his wife June, far right, talk with Chris Hardy and Rebecca Monroe at the Jones roast. (Staff Photo: Jim West)
/ALBANY — The spotlight was on educator, scholar and musician T. Marshall Jones Friday evening, though many of his compliments were laced with good-natured barbs. Jones was the honored guest at this year’s Roast and Silent Auction, a fund-raising event by the Albany Technical College Foundation.
“In my 19 years in Albany, it appears that just about everywhere there is something the community is trying to accomplish and do good, Jones is there participating and contributing,” said Dr. Anthony O. Parker, president of Albany Technical College. “Certainly when the college has called on him he was there to support us. We were just happy when he agreed to be roasted.”
Previous “roastees” include U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr., D-Albany, Dr. Charles Gillespie, former Dougherty County school superintendent John Culbreath and Joel Wernick, CEO of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Parker said.
According to Parker, Albany Technical College relies on funds generated by the annual roasts to assist students in their pursuit of a quality technical education. The funds also provide new equipment and support instruction and faculty training, Parker said.
“Roast funds have generally been for scholarships for students where Hope (scholarships) and Pell (grants) didn’t pick up, or for students who are just about out of financial aid and in their last semester, or for students who need to take the GED and are a little short of funds,” Parker said.
Parker said about 75 percent of ATC students are economically disadvantaged and qualify for Title IV financial aid.
Jones was employed for 33 years at Albany State University, where he served as Director of Bands, Chairman of the Music Department and Professor and Chairman of the Fine Arts Department. Jones “retired” in 1996, but remained as Adjunct Professor of Music at ASU until retiring once again in 2010. The university’s T. Marshall Jones Fine Arts Performance and Lyceum Series is named in Jones’ honor.
“I’m excited someone thought enough of me to do something of this magnitude,” Jones said just prior to the roast. “I was present when they roasted Dr. Culbreath. You sit there and you take in what’s going on, but you don’t realize how it affects you when you’re the object of whatever it is. I’m putting on my breastplate of armor and I hope I have enough on that I can ward off those darts and spears that will be coming my way. I’m grateful to the people who have worked so hard to bring this to fruition.”
As Jones sat silently on stage, his roast began with his old friend Clift E. Felton, retired education and administrator of the Terrell County schools. For around 15 minutes the honoree endured humorous jabs, accented by laughter from the audience.
Other roasters were Dr. James L. Hill, chair of College of Arts and Humanities at Albany State University; Patsy Martin, Realtor with Coldwell Banker/Walden & Kirkland Realtors and Dr. Leroy E. Bynum Jr., dean of Fine Arts and Humanities at ASU.
Toward the end of his roast, Bynum paid tribute to Jones with a stirring tenor rendition of “Sunrise Sunset” from the hit 1964 musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”