Dr. Joyce Jones Honored With Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award

  • News Photo 4870
    (L to R) -- Dr. James Bennighof, vice provost for academic affairs and policy and professor of music theory at Baylor, presents the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award to Dr. Joyce Jones, The Joyce Oliver Bowden professor of music, professor of organ and organist in residence at Baylor.
  • News Photo 4871
    The Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year recipient Dr. Joyce Jones, The Joyce Oliver Bowden professor of music, professor of organ and organist in residence at Baylor, holds a photo of Smith, for whom the award is named.
April 20, 2010

Follow us on Twitter: @BaylorUMediaCom

Dr. Joyce Jones, The Joyce Oliver Bowden professor of music, professor of organ and organist in residence at Baylor University, has been named the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year. The award was presented during the annual Honors Convocation held April 14 at Baylor.

"This award means so much to me, because I knew Cornelia Marschall Smith," Jones said. "For her 100th birthday, she wanted to have a musical concert. At her request, Dean Sternberg and I played a piano and organ duet. She was an inspiration because she maintained a keen interest in everything, including literature and the arts. I was amazed to discover that in addition to other interests, she really enjoyed performances by the Baylor jazz ensemble, as well as classical music."

The annual award is presented to a Baylor faculty member who makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor. As this year's recipient, Jones will receive $20,000 and will present a public lecture in the fall on an academic topic of her choosing.

The award is based on:

• Teaching, which is judged to be of the highest order of intellectual acumen and pedagogical effectiveness,

• Research, which is recognized as outstanding by the national and international, as well as local, community of scholars, and

• Service, which is regarded as exemplary in building the character of intellectual community at Baylor.

"Dr. Jones's performing and teaching abilities are universally recognized and honored within the community of organists throughout the United States and around the world; quite a few of these organists, in fact, have been her students," said Dr. James Bennighof, vice provost for academic affairs and policy and professor of music theory at Baylor. "Over the past four decades, she has committed these talents to service at Baylor, truly becoming an institution herself here and thus enriching the lives not only of her full-time students and the many others who attend her workshops and conferences here, but also of all those in our community for whom she has played at concerts, worship services, commencement exercises and other special events."

Jones describes herself as an "accidental organist." She said that after entering the University of Texas at Austin as a piano major, a badly sprained hand caused her to turn to the organ, where she developed the pedal technique. Since then, she always includes one piece featuring pedals, as her way of thanking God for showing her what she should do with her life.

Jones earned her doctorate of musical arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master of sacred music degree in composition from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Jones' returned to her alma mater in 1952 to serve for one year as a teaching fellow at The University of Texas at Austin. Over the years, Jones has held a number of teaching positions, including the preparatory piano instructor at Texas Wesleyan University from 1953-54, a private piano studio from 1953-57, a piano and organ instructor at The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor from 1957-59 and an artist teacher in organ at Huston-Tillotson College from 1966-67. Jones returned back to The University of Texas at Austin in 1960 and served on the summer music faculty and as a teaching associate from 1966-67.

In 1969, Jones joined the Baylor faculty to serve in the position she still holds today. She currently teaches several classes, including undergraduate and graduate organ, organ methods, advanced undergraduate organ and degree recital in organ.

Jones has recorded for Word, Rosenhaus and Motette Records. She is a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists and the composer of numerous published works.

In 1997, she received the National Federation of Music Clubs' highest award, a National Citation, "in recognition and sincere appreciation of her unselfish devotion and dedicated service to music as a concert organist, inspiring teacher and composer." In 1998, she received the highest award given by Mu Phi Epsilon, professional music fraternity, as only the eighth recipient of that prestigious award in 96 years. In 2001, she was inducted into the Walter Gilewicz Hall of Fame at The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. In 2003, she received the Texas Music Teachers Association award as the outstanding collegiate teacher of the year.

Jones' most recent accomplishment is for her award by the American Guild of Organists, a national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. Jones was chosen by the 22,000 members of the guild as the Honoree of the Year. Her accomplishments also include, being the first woman to perform on the organ at the Crystal Cathedral, the first organist to play for the Grand Teton Music Festival and the only woman organist chosen to play with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at the inauguration of the Ruffatti organ in Davies Symphony Hall.

As the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year, Jones will be donating the $20,000 award rather than accepting it. "After learning that I had been named the recipient for the award, I had determined that I would immediately return the money to Baylor to be divided between the endowment for the midwinter organ conference and two endowed organ scholarships to which my husband and I regularly contribute," Jones said. "By giving this to the endowment, the principal amount will continue to grow and the interest will be used to help future students in their studies at Baylor."

A 1918 Baylor biology graduate, Dr. Cornelia Marschall Smith earned a master's degree from the University of Chicago in 1925 and her doctorate from Johns Hopkins in 1928. She was a professor of biology at Baylor from 1940-67, chair of the biology department from 1943-67, and director of Strecker Museum from 1943-67. She retired in 1967, but maintained an office in Armstrong Browning Library to assist charitable causes. In 1980, Baylor honored Smith with an endowed chair known as the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professorship in Biology. She was widely celebrated among her colleagues, students and alumni for fine teaching, generous mentoring and her many interdisciplinary interests. She was a lively and continuing contributor to the Baylor intellectual community until her death on Aug. 27, 1997, at the age of 101.

Previous recipients of the award include Dr. William Hillis, The Cornelia Marschall Smith professor of biology; Dr. D. Thomas Hanks Jr., professor of English and Master Teacher; Dr. Robert M. Baird, professor of philosophy and Master Teacher; Dr. Kevin G. Pinney, professor of chemistry; Dr. Ann E. Rushing, professor and associate chair of biology; and former Baylor history professor Dr. Wallace L. Daniel Jr., who now serves as provost at Mercer University.

by Lillyan Baker, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Looking for more news from Baylor University?