California State University, Northridge alumnus Gordon Jones ’82 (History) received a $10,000 scholarship with the click of a button after he signed up to be a part of the “CSU Class of 3 million” yearbook, a program launched by the California State University system to celebrate the milestone of 3 million graduates from the state university system — the nation’s largest since its founding in 1857. The collective CSU alumni surpassed 3 million this year. California State University, Northridge, the system’s largest institution, celebrated the milestone and Jones’ win during the 2015 Commencement ceremonies.
One out of every 20 college graduates in the United States is a product of the California State University system. Jones, an engineer and San Fernando Valley resident, received one of three $10,000 Herff Jones-sponsored scholarships.
“I was really surprised when I first saw the email,” Jones said. “The first email I got after I signed up [for the yearbook] said that I won a T-shirt and a couple of other things. That was pretty cool. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got an email from CSUN with my name on it saying I won a bunch of money. It was really exciting, and I am thrilled to have received the award.”
Shortly after he graduated from CSUN, Jones went to work for AT&T for a short-term operator position. Thirty-three years later, Jones finds himself as the lead fiber-design engineer for the LA Metro and San Fernando Valley areas.
“I am proud of being a CSUN alumni,” Jones said. “Back when I went in the late ’70s, it was really starting to grow. They had just opened the student union, and I remember The Pub from my music-listening days. I made some really good friends while I was there and also got a great education out of it. I was happy to get a job with the company right after school and thought I would work there for a year or two.”
More than three decades later, Jones is five years away from retirement. He has decided to use the scholarship money he won for his son’s and godson’s education (the scholarship must be used for educational purposes).
“My son, [Robert], graduated from CSUN in 2007 with a degree in CTVA,” Jones said. “He is now a teacher. My daughter, [Jennifer], graduated in 2010 with her B.A. in communications. She is now working at a company called Initiative as a senior specialist of digital investment.
“My son’s going for his multi-subject [teaching] credential. Right now, he is a science and math teacher at St. John Eudes in Chatsworth and now wants to go back and get his credential. I also have a godson who is graduating from Alemany High School next year, so I might use it toward that as well. He is an offensive lineman for their football team and is being recruited. Once he figures out where he wants to go, I will try and help him out financially.”