Leaving a legacy
Gaye Shinall Jones knew how to draw connections and bring people together. In many ways, she was an exemplar of social work. She saw a need, worked to fill the void and brought people together to sustain positive change.
No one knew this better than her family. “From the first day she started the social work program at VCU she was always trying to pull people together,” said Gaye’s husband, Deacon William “Bill” Jones. Gaye was a natural for group collaboration and she would often reach out student colleagues to bring them together for study groups, alumni meetings or sometimes to just be social and have fun.
Frank Baskind, Ph.D., dean emeritus of the School of Social Work remembers Gaye being a link between students. “Even as a student, Gaye knew the role of social work. She knew it and lived it,” said Frank.
In 1990 Gaye graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Social Work. She then earned her Master of Social Work, with a certificate in gerontology , from VCU in 1993; however Gaye did not wait for graduation to begin practicing her social work craft. Just as she was devoted to students, Gaye was also committed to engaging alumni with the school.
Prior to graduating with her masters, Gaye began working with the university to provide school alumni the opportunity to engage with other alumni, students and the school. They established the School of Social Work Alumni Board.
“My mother had an amazing ability to meet people where they were. It didn’t matter the age or background. She just loved people and loved brining them together, ” said Gaye’s daughter Hope King.
In celebration of her life, a room in the VCU School of Social Work’s new home, in the Academic Learning Commons, will be named in memory of Gaye on Saturday, May 16, by her daughter, Hope King.