Carnegie Mellon University
September 27, 2023

$11M Bequest Will Advance Interdisciplinary Science at Carnegie Mellon University

Gift from Carl and Amy Jones to support research, education and partnerships in Mellon College of Science

By Jocelyn Duffy

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS

A generous gift from the late Carl (S 56) and Amy Jones to Carnegie Mellon University will provide the Mellon College of Science (MCS) with significant resources as it creates the future of science through interdisciplinary collaborations. The $11 million bequest will create an endowment to support research, partnerships and education at MCS for decades to come.

The Joneses characterized themselves as contemplative people in their decision-making, and their bequest followed numerous conversations with university leaders and staff about their vision and how to structure a planned gift to achieve their goals. Years before their passing, the Joneses had reached out to Carnegie Mellon to discuss their interest in advancing interdisciplinary studies and scholarship in the sciences, saying that Carnegie Mellon was “the one place that can champion this concept.”

“Carl and Amy Jones truly understood the vision that Carnegie Mellon has for the future of science,” said Curtis A. Meyer, interim dean of MCS. “Their foresight and generosity will benefit our faculty and students for generations.”

Carnegie Mellon has long been known for its interdisciplinary approach to research. Scientists in MCS’s Departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematical Sciences and Physics often pursue groundbreaking research through collaborations with their peers in the university’s other schools and colleges, including the College of Engineering, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and School of Computer Science.

The university recently embarked on an ambitious future of science initiative that will accelerate the university’s leadership in scientific discovery and education through cross-disciplinary collaborations, specifically those that combine the foundational sciences with automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and data science.

The Joneses’ gift will support three avenues for promoting interdisciplinary science at the university: a professorship, a research fund and a lecture.

The Carl & Amy Jones Professorship in Interdisciplinary Science will support a faculty member who has a primary appointment in the Mellon College of Science and a secondary appointment in one of the university’s other schools and colleges. This professorship will allow the university to recruit and retain innovative researchers working in important areas of the sciences. A search for the inaugural Jones Professor has begun, led by Professor and Department Head of Chemistry Bruce Armitage.

The Carl & Amy Jones Endowed Interdisciplinary Fund will support early-stage interdisciplinary research, serving as a pathway to future, larger grants from other funding sources. The fund will first be used to support research that uses the Carnegie Mellon University Cloud Lab. Set to open by early 2024, the remote-controlled, automated lab is the first of its kind at a university. The Jones Fund will provide researchers with time to run experiments in the Carnegie Mellon Cloud Lab and collect data that can be used as a proof-of-concept for future grant applications.

The Carl & Amy Jones Lecture in Interdisciplinary Science will bring a prominent speaker to CMU’s Pittsburgh campus each year to discuss their work in interdisciplinary science. The first Jones Lecture was held on Sept. 27 and featured neuroscientist Abigail Marsh, who spoke on the biology of heroism.

Carl Jones was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1934. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1956, his MBA from the University of Southern California in 1963 and his Ph.D. from the Claremont Graduate School and University Center.

He joined the faculty of the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California, as a professor of command and control in 1965 and he was appointed chairman of the Department of Administrative Sciences in 1976. At NPS, Jones taught mathematical microeconomics theory, public expenditure analysis and the structure and conduct of defense industries. He remained at NPS for the remainder of his career.

Amy Jones was born in Honolulu and worked as an educator in elementary schools in California.

Carl and Amy Jones lived in Pacific Grove, California.

The Joneses’ bequest is the latest gift to be announced as part of the university’s Make Possible: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University. The campaign's supporters are accelerating the university's ambitious strategic priorities for initiatives across its seven colleges and schools. To date, almost 63,000 supporters have contributed $2.19 billion to CMU through the campaign.

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