Known for his entrepreneurial leadership and fundraising ability, Dr. Greg Jones served as the longtime dean of Duke Divinity School from 1997-2010 and again from 2018 until becoming Belmont’s president on June 1, 2021. Between 2010 and 2018, he served in a variety of roles, including vice president and vice provost for global strategy at Duke University and also as provost and executive vice president of Baylor University. In addition, he has served in advisory and strategic roles with several foundations and educational institutions in the United States as well as in Armenia.
During his time at Duke Divinity, Jones strengthened the School’s financial trajectory, diversified the faculty and staff and led a strategic planning process that garnered great enthusiasm for the school’s future, all while setting new records for gifts to the Annual Fund and to the Divinity School overall. In addition, he currently serves as a senior fellow at Leadership Education, which he founded, and senior fellow at the Fuqua-Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics, both at Duke University. He is passionate about re-shaping cultures within and across organizations and has coined the term “traditioned innovation” to capture how he re-frames complex challenges to seize significant opportunities.
Jones’ tenures as dean were marked by significant growth in Duke Divinity School. More than $102 million was raised under his leadership in The Campaign for Duke (1998-2003), and major new initiatives begun during his tenure include the Center for Reconciliation, the Thriving Rural Communities Program, the Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation, the Clergy Health Initiative, the Reynolds Program in Church Leadership and numerous international partnerships, especially with the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, the United Methodist Church in Cote d’Ivoire, and the Center for Reconciliation’s Great Lakes Initiative which embraces the central-east African region. As Duke’s Global Strategist, he led initiatives in China and India as well as helped to engage work in Singapore.
A gifted speaker, Jones is the author or editor of 19 books, including the recently released Navigating the Future: Traditioned Innovation for Wilder Seas (with Andrew P. Hogue) which outlines his perspective on traditioned innovation as “a habit of being and living that cultivates a certain kind of moral imagination shaped by storytelling and expressed in creative, transformational action.” Other works include Christian Social Innovation, the co-authored Forgiving as We’ve Been Forgiven: Community Practices for Making Peace (with Celestin Musekura), the co-authored Resurrecting Excellence (with Kevin R. Armstrong), and the widely acclaimed Embodying Forgiveness. An ordained United Methodist minister, he has published more than 200 articles in a variety of publications.
Dr. Jones received his bachelor’s in speech communication and a masters of public administration from the University of Denver, and his masters of divinity and Ph.D. in theology from Duke University. He is also the recipient of honorary doctorates from Lycoming College (Williamsport, PA) and North Carolina Wesleyan. He currently serves on the boards of the John Templeton Foundation, the McDonald Agape Foundation, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and the India Collective.
Dr. Jones is married to the Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones, and they are the parents of three children: Nathan, Ben and Sarah, and are grateful for their two daughters-in-law, Amy Little Jones and Allison Jones, their son-in-law Joey Fala and their granddaughters Clara, Audrey and Sophie.