Edwin "Rudy" Jones
Thousands of Carolina students and alumni understand the theory of relativity thanks to physics professor Edwin "Rudy" Jones.
Although officially retired, Jones is teaching a course this fall, Physics in the Visual Arts.
"We don't have a lot of fancy equipment. It's all basic optics and things you can see with your eye, but I get a lot of 'oohs and aahs,' which is good," says Jones.
The fact that, after 50 years as a college professor, Jones still gets excited about science is also worthy of a few "oohs and aahs." Jones and his wife, Betty, are doing what they can to assure future students have the same twinkle in their eyes while speaking about scientific principles.
By designating the University of South Carolina Educational Foundation as beneficiary of a portion of their retirement assets, the couple has created the Dr. Edwin R. and Mrs. Elizabeth F. Jones Endowed Scholarship Fund. This fund was created to provide financial support to juniors and seniors at Carolina who are majoring in physics, chemistry or mathematics.
To qualify, the students must also have graduated from a South Carolina high school or have been homeschooled in South Carolina.
"We wanted to help and encourage local students," says Jones.
Though the Joneses created the endowment with a deferred gift, they have also made a generous outright contribution so that the scholarship could be awarded immediately.
Encouraging students is something Jones has done even before his professorial career.
As a secretarial science student at USC in the late 1950s, Betty Jones wasn't required to take physics. It was only at Rudy's urging that she enrolled in a physical science course.
"It's fun and interesting," says Betty Jones, who proofread Rudy's textbooks. "But if he gets too into it, I just smile and nod."
The couple decided to create the endowment at USC even though Jones earned his degrees from Clemson and the University of Wisconsin.
After a half century on faculty, "I've been here long enough. I'm a Gamecock," says Rudy.
"I didn't have a desire to go anywhere else," says Betty, whose grandfather and mother both attended USC.
The Jones' granddaughters — Beth, Farris and Ellen Jones — are now the family's fifth generation of Carolina students. But don't expect another physicist in the family. Their majors are elementary education, social work and comparative literature, respectively.
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