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Mike Jones (BSEd 1976)

Plato once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. For University of Missouri–St. Louis alumni Mike Jones, this philosophical quote became a mantra as he became the first member of his family to attend college and, later, in distinguishing himself as a public servant during an impactful career spanning five decades.

Mike, who was born in St. Louis and was raised in a neighborhood south of Fairgrounds Park, always had an active interest in current events, particularly national and international affairs. The adults in Mike’s life were big consumers of newspapers and magazines, inspiring him to read everything he could get his hands on.

Mike Jones

“I met Plato at UMSL, along with scores of other great minds as I learned to be a thinker,” Mike said. “I prevailed in four decades of politics, not because I’m smarter, but because I was intellectually better prepared.”

The intellectual curiosity that was built into his DNA and kindled at UMSL paid off in a professional life of private and public sector accomplishment. In January 2016, Mike founded Jones Strategic Advisors, a consultancy with an emphasis in governmental affairs, economic development and community relations. Before that, he served as senior policy advisor to St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley, overseeing the departments of Planning, Human Services, Health, the Children Service Fund and the St Louis County Economic Council. He also chaired the Lambert Airport Redevelopment Commission and the Midwest China Hub Commission.

Mike served St. Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon as chief of staff and deputy mayor for development. Among his accomplishments was the development of the Marriott Grand Convention Hotel. In addition, he oversaw the drafting of the Downtown Now! master plan and negotiated the Highlands Plaza redevelopment. Earlier in his career, he was a member of the St. Louis Board of Alderman and served as executive director of the St Louis Housing Authority and the Greater St Louis Regional Empowerment Zone, a federally funded community and economic development initiative targeted under invested areas of the St. Louis region.

His private sector experience includes roles as executive director of Herbert Hoover Boys Club and regional manager, corporate affairs for Anheuser Busch. Mike currently writes commentary for and serves on the editorial board of The St. Louis American.

From a curious kid and college student to impactful public servant and professional, Mike has spent a lifetime absorbing knowledge while reflecting on and examining his place in the world. Mike says he is grateful for all that UMSL taught him along the journey.

"Whatever contributions I’ve made to the St. Louis community could not have happened without UMSL," Mike said.