BJU created the Beneth Peters Jones Memorial Scholarship to memorialize Mrs. Jones’ legacy after her passing in February.
Beneth Jones, wife of Chancellor Bob Jones III, anonymously gave money to needy students at the University over the years, sometimes keeping it secret even from her husband, according to John Matthews, vice president for Advancement and Alumni Relations.
“The fund is to continue what she already had been doing for years,” Matthews said.
According to Matthews, after Jones’s passing, both the University’s board and women alumni who attended Jones’ funeral asked what the University could do to honor her memory.
Dr. John Lewis, chairman of the Board of Trustees, first spoke with Matthews and Dr. Steve Pettit, university president, about the scholarship and approached Dr. Bob Jones III as well.
Mrs. Jan Reimers, who was a student of and later co-teacher with Mrs. Jones, said the scholarship lines up with who Jones was.
“The fact that there’s an opportunity now to give to others is just so reflective of her heart and her personality,” Reimers said in a video on the scholarship’s website.
While the application process for the scholarship has not been decided, Matthews said the scholarship will go to women students in need at BJU, with a preference given to children of alumni coming from a ministry background. “Technically, it could help any woman,” Matthews said.
Donations for the scholarship are accepted at benethjones.com.
Matthews said women blessed by Jones’ ministry have given to and promoted the scholarship on their social media. “So far, interest has been exciting and humbling to see,” Matthews said.
Because the scholarship is an endowment fund, the scholarship will be funded by investments. As the investments make annual returns, the scholarship will be awarded.
“As long as BJU is in existence, it would exist,” Matthews said.
According to Matthews, endowment funds typically take a year to become usable because of the need to wait for the investment return. The fund began the week of Feb. 18, 2019.
Matthews said the scholarship will help enrolled students, not prospective students.
“The funds are not intended to entice or attempt to recruit a woman student to attend BJU but to be an encouragement and help to a female student who already is in the student body and struggling financially,” Matthews said.
Matthews said he cannot wait to see how God works and continues Jones’ ministry through the scholarship.
Jones first came to BJU in 1959. She served in multiple roles over the years, on and off campus. She taught, spoke at women’s meetings and wrote 13 books. After struggling financially while she attended BJU, Jones chose to give to financially struggling students.
“She loved people, she humbly served people and you could not be around her and not be touched or receive some polish from spending time with such a godly, dignified woman,” Matthews said.
BJU’s tax-exempt status, regained in March 2017, has encouraged larger gifts according to Matthews.