Alumnus of the Year
Paul Jones, Ph.D., was recently named Interim President at Georgia College and State University. In addition to his appointment as Interim President, he serves as the Vice President for Administration and Operations, responsible for the university’s fiscal, human, and physical resources.
Dr. Jones has served at Georgia College for 10 years. He previously served as Vice President and Chief of Staff, Vice President for Institutional Research and Enrollment Management and has served in several interim roles. He also holds the position of Professor of Educational Administration at Georgia College.
His career spans over 26 years in higher education in Georgia, Colorado, Utah, and Maryland. In 2007, Dr. Jones was named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow, the nation’s premier higher education leadership program and served at the University of West Florida.
Dr. Jones was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, attended Utah State University on a football scholarship and participated in track and field. “USU is a magical place. When I arrived over 30 years ago, I instantly fell in love with the picturesque campus, but I worried that I would not make it socially and academically. I contemplated transferring on a couple of occasions my freshman year. I am so pleased that I was patient and listened to friends and coaches and did not give up. USU was the best thing that could have happened to me. It took an inner-city kid who was ‘rough around the edges’ and helped develop him personally, spiritually, and intellectually.”
Dr. Jones holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in education and human resource studies with a concentration in educational leadership from Colorado State University, and a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Utah State University. He serves on numerous committees and civic boards and is a member of the Downtown Macon Rotary and the Goodwill Middle Georgia and CSRA Board of Directors.
Alumnus of the Year
Sylvia Jones has worked in the financial education industry for the past 20 years. She served as Director of Financial Aid and Interim Dean of Enrollment at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo. (now Colorado Mesa University) as well as Director of Financial Aid at Wesleyan College in Macon, GA. In 2006, she began working for the Student Loan Corporation, a division of Citibank, where she remained until recently accepting the position as an assistant vice president-account executive in the education financial services division at Wells Fargo Bank N.A.
Sylvia is involved in many regional and state higher education organizations. She served as the state secretary for the Colorado Association of Financial Aid Administrators; she currently serves on the Georgia Association of Financial Aid Administrators Professional Development Committee, the Georgia Financial Aid Association Strategic Planning Committee and South Carolina and Georgia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Diversity Committees.
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Sylvia began to research Utah State University after her father was transferred to Salt Lake City (Ft. Douglas).“Once I saw the USU campus, I knew that’s where I wanted to attend college,” she said.
A self-described “proud Aggie,” Sylvia was involved in numerous activities at USU, including the USU Voices of Praise Gospel Choir which she and husband, Paul, helped form. “What an experience!,” she said.
Sylvia and Paul are now involved in many philanthropic activities, including Rotary Club meals for families, scholarships for disadvantaged students pursuing study aboard, an established African American Student Leadership Scholarship at USU and support for the Goodwill Industries Foundation.
Sylvia holds a BA in economics from Utah State and an MBA from Western State College in Gunnison, Colo. Son Isaiah is a senior at USU majoring in exercise science, while daughter Daphne is a USU junior majoring in psychology with a minor in biology. Both are student athletes.
Young Alumnus of the Year
Mezzo-soprano, Tamara Mumford, was raised in Sandy, Utah, and received her Bachelor of Arts in vocal performance from Utah State University in 2003. Upon graduation, Tamara accepted a scholarship to Yale University to continue her studies in opera performance. After one year at Yale, Tamara was invited to be a member of the prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2006 and has since sung principal roles in more than 130 performances with the company; several of which have been broadcast live to movie theaters internationally as part of the Met’s Live in HD series. In addition to her work at the Met, Tamara has enjoyed performing title roles at Opera Company of Philadelphia, Glimmerglass Opera, Glyndebourne Opera Festival in the UK and the BBC Proms in London, Palm Beach Opera, Castleton Festival, Crested Butte Music Festival, the Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi di Milano in Italy; and at Utah Festival Opera in Cache Valley.
Also an active concert performer and recitalist, Tamara made her Carnegie Hall Debut in 2005 and has most recently performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Grand Teton Orchestra, La Jolla Music Society Summerfest, the Met Chamber Ensemble, The Utah Symphony, the Nantucket Musical Arts Society, and toured throughout the United States with the musicians from Marlboro Festival.
This season Tamara will debut with the New York Philharmonic, Eugene Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Opera and then travel to Paris, London, Lucerne, New York, and California with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Spring tour.
Tamara became a true Aggie with her husband, dentist Nathan Mumford ’06, during Homecoming weekend 2000. They live in Connecticut with their 3-year-old son, Brian.
Kevin D. Curtis
A product of Utah’s Bingham High School, Kevin Curtis began his collegiate football career as a walk-on at Snow College, where he earned second team All-America honors. He then transferred to Utah State University and walked on to the Aggie’s football team as well. As a junior he led the nation in receptions, earning third team All-America honors, while setting many Utah State single-season records along the way.
After graduating from USU with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing, Curtis was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the 3rd round (74th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. He played for the Rams for four years, alongside fellow receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. His best season with St. Louis came in 2005 with 60 receptions, 801 yards, and six touchdowns. He also tallied more receiving yards than any other receiver in the 2004 playoffs.
In 2007, Curtis moved from the Rams to the Philadelphia Eagles. He played with the Eagles for three years and set career highs in his first year with a total of 1,110 yards, 77 receptions and six touchdowns. He was only the 11th receiver in Eagle’s history to breach the 1000-yards mark. While battling injuries, Curtis spent the last two seasons moving between the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. Currently, he is a free agent.
A proud Aggie, Curtis said he will always have incredible feelings of gratitude for Utah State University, where he met some of his greatest friends, earned a degree and gained an education that he values tremendously.
Curtis said it is impossible to fully appreciate his achievements in the NFL without seeing the significant role Utah State played in helping him get there. “Here I was given the opportunities to follow my dreams, and I’ll be forever grateful for that,” he said.
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