South Jersey businessman, civic leader and philanthropist Samuel H. Jones has donated $1 million to the Rowan University Foundation to be earmarked for the construction of the first building of the South Jersey Technology Park at Rowan University.
Edward Graham, chairman of the Rowan University Foundation and CEO of South Jersey Industries, made the announcement on Monday, September 25. The Technology Park Board of Directors, of which Jones has been a member since 2003, voted earlier on September 25 to name the first building the Samuel H. Jones Innovation Center. (Jones was not present for the vote.)
Jones, a former Woodstown resident who now lives in Mantua Township, has a long relationship with the University and said the donation will support its work in attracting entrepreneurs to South Jersey and educating tomorrow’s technology work force.
“The Technology Park is important for technology and growth in our region,” said Jones. “It will be a place for people with an entrepreneurial spirit to make things happen.”
An entrepreneur himself, Jones founded S-J Transportation Co., Woodstown, in 1971 and remains a consultant for the firm. Additionally, he is owner and president of S-J Venture Capital Co., Woodstown. In addition to serving on the Technology Park board, he is chairman of the Salem Community College Foundation Board. He also serves on the boards of the businesses Viewpoint, Inc., New York City, and Fogg Enterprises, Carney’s Point. He was director of Woodstown National Bank & Trust Company (now The Bank); a member of the Salem County Utility Authority for 25 years; and a president of Tri-County Community Action Agency, Bridgeton.
His other business activities have included serving on the boards of MetaCreations, Inc., (now Viewpoint), New York City; Cardinal Technologies, Lancaster, Pa.; Symbus Technology, Inc., Waltham, Mass.; Fulton Financial Corporation, Lancaster, Pa.; Techmar, Inc., Canton, Mass.; and Jevic Transportation, Co., Delran.
Rowan President Dr. Donald Farish said of Jones’ gift, “We’ve received a great deal of government support for this project, but this is the first major gift from an individual. We’re grateful to Sam Jones not only for the financial contribution but also for his acknowledgement of the importance of the Technology Park to South Jersey.”
Added Dr. Philip A. Tumminia, chair of the Technology Park board, Rowan’s special assistant to the president/Advancement and the person Jones said sparked the contribution, “Sam is very civic minded. His contribution will provide us with a cushion for the construction of the building that will ensure we’ll have a first-class facility.”
The gift is unique. “There have been very few gifts from individuals to research parks. Most grants to research parks have been awarded by federal, state and local governments, but very few parks have been the beneficiary of individual contributions, especially of this magnitude,” said Charles Dilks, consultant to the Technology Park; president of DilksConsulting, Philadelphia; former executive vice president of the University City Science Center in Philadelphia; and former president of the Association of University Research Parks.
Rowan University broke ground in April for the Technology Park’s first building, a 45,000-square-foot structure that will include a mix of laboratories, a technology business incubator and laboratory/office space for private technology-based firms and for Rowan sponsored research.
Located on Rt. 322 near the junction of Rt. 55 in Mantua Township, the Technology Park will provide competitively priced, first-class facilities for start-up and established companies to bring innovative technologies to the marketplace and serve as a home for researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs, professors and students.
Located about a mile from Rowan’s Glassboro campus, the Technology Park is expected to be a focal point for regional economic growth as it facilitates science and technology initiatives. The mission of the Technology Park is to establish a technology-based entrepreneurial economy; expand and strengthen the unique research and learning environment of Rowan University; and create value for its surrounding communities in their economic, physical and social development.
The Technology Park is a public/private partnership that has received support from numerous organizations, including the New Jersey Economic Development Authority ($5.8 million), the Delaware River and Bay Authority ($5 million), the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology ($1.5 million), the Rowan University Foundation ($1 million), the U.S. Small Business Administration (about $500,000) and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs ($150,000).