An outstanding leader for the Class of 1978 and vital figure in several alumni communities, Mary Bowler Jones is instrumental in helping fellow alumni—as well as students—form deeper relationships with the university and with each other.
Mary dedicates her Frank H. T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Award to Kenneth Mogil ’78. Ken got her started in Cornell volunteer service when they were still undergraduates. He invited her to a meeting recruiting senior class leaders. “I went along with him, just like most things he suggested,” says Mary. “We left with jobs as class officers.”
Together, Ken and Mary were tremendous organizers for the Class of 1978, working side by side on their 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th Reunions. Tragically, Ken died suddenly soon after their 25th Reunion.
The loss inspired Mary to intensify her class leadership and drove her efforts to raise awareness of mental health issues. As classmate Cynthia Kubas ’78 notes, “When our class president passed away unexpectedly, Mary stepped in. It is largely due to her efforts that all of our reunions have been so successful. Our 40th, in 2018, was the best yet.”
Mary is now the immediate past president of the class and class historian and serves on the class council. She was class president for 15 years, Reunion chair for five reunions, and has filled several other leadership roles. Of all her volunteer service, Mary most enjoys her class leadership.
She is also instrumental in alumni organizations that connect Cornellians of all class years. Mary was active with the Cornell Association of Class Officers (CACO), serving as president from 2003 to 2005. She was an important part of the Cornell Alumni Association (CAA), eventually serving as Director at Large from 2013 to 2015. She was active with the Cornell Alumni Federation (CAF; now combined with CAA), serving on various committees from 2002 to 2005. Cornell Clubs in Greater Philadelphia and Delaware, where she makes her home, have benefited from Mary’s involvement.
Mary served the university as a member of the Cornell University Council from 2003 to 2018, including two terms on the administrative board, and she is now a life member. She was a member of the Student and Academic Services Advisory Council from 2009 to 2012. She is now a Member at Large of Cornell Mosaic, after serving on the executive committee from 2003 to 2005. She recently joined the President’s Council of Cornell Women.
Mary held leadership and executive roles as a lawyer for DuPont during her career and volunteers for several organizations in her community, chairing the boards of the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware and the Delaware Theatre Company. Two of her three children are Cornellians and the third is a graduate of Ithaca College.
“Cornell has had a profound impact on me, both personally and professionally,” she says. “Whatever I can do to say thank you for that keeps me going.”