UROC Community Day features Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center naming dedication ceremony

The University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) will commemorate its fifth year with a Community Day open house from 2 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 20.

As part of the celebration, the University will honor former University Professor and Senior Vice President Robert J. Jones in a 3 p.m. naming dedication ceremony with University President Eric Kaler and special guests. In recognition of the event, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has declared May 20 Robert J. Jones Day in Minneapolis to honor Jones’ work in bringing transparency, accountability and trust to relations between the University and the Minneapolis community.

"Doctor Jones’ legacy runs deep through the University of Minnesota as an outstanding academic, visionary administrator and devoted champion of diversity across the state and in urban communities," said Kaler. "The naming of UROC in his honor is an especially fitting tribute—as a leader in the development of the University’s Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center and many other urban initiatives, Dr. Jones has been crucial to community understanding of the University as to who we are, who we serve, and what we value."

A former north Minneapolis resident, Jones was named president of the University at Albany, State University of New York in 2013. An internationally recognized professor of agronomy and plant genetics, Jones spent more than 15 years in key administrative leadership positions at the University and is nationally recognized for his work to advance university-community engagement.

"The University of Minnesota's commitment to community engagement and outreach through university-community collaboration has been key to its success in addressing the disenfranchisement that plagues our society. Universities can be, and should be, the first path taken toward educational, economic and social transformation,” said Jones. “I am proud to have been a part of their journey and laud them for their continued dedication to this cause."

Jones' vision of a place-based, community-engaged research and outreach center that addresses critical urban issues through university-community partnerships lead to the creation of UROC’s foundation in 2006. In alignment with the University’s broader public engagement agenda, UROC is now home to more than 50 partnerships – involving more than 35 University academic programs and 40 community organizations.