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Donor Impact Stories

Honoring a Legend

Alumni and colleagues pay tribute to retired SCM television engineer, Jeff Jones

Posted in: Montclair State University Donors

Jeff Jones in hallway with crowd
Alumni, staff and friends line the hallway near Room 1111, named for Jones, in the School of Communication and Media.

To honor Jeff Jones, a beloved television engineer in the University’s Broadcast and Media Operations (BMO) department of the School of Communication and Media (SCM), alumni, faculty and staff raised more than $7,000 that will benefit scholarships and School initiatives, a generous expression of their esteem for the legend Jones created in his 35-year career. Jones, who retired in March, returned to campus on June 7 for a surprise unveiling of a plaque dedicating Room 1111 in SCM – the hub of production where he spent countless hours – in recognition of his impact on generations of students.

“Our alumni made it happen…we asked for support as a tribute to Jeff and our alumni delivered – within 24 hours we reached our fundraising target,” says Patricia Piroh ’88, ’92 MA, director of Production Services and Technology, who oversees BMO. “I’m so happy that Jeff is permanently recognized in this way, so that generations can read about Jeff’s contributions and his legacy at Montclair.”

Two men posed for photo
Jones with John Diglio, former director of the DuMont Television Center, who hired Jones.

The hallway outside Room 1111 was lined with former students, staff and friends, including two former directors of the DuMont Television Center, Jeff Friedman along with John Diglio, who hired Jones. The gathering reunited colleagues and alumni, giving them the opportunity to reminisce and personally thank Jones for his influence on their lives.

As a television engineer, Jones fixed cameras, trained students how to operate equipment, and by many accounts, “regularly saved the day.”

Krystal Acosta ’09, assistant director of Production Services, knew Jones when she was a student and worked with him as a colleague for the past eight years. “Jeff is the best fixer-upper and he always puts a smile on your face,” she said. In addressing Jones, she shared: “I don’t know anyone more deserving than you to have this equipment room, that you’ve spent so many hours in, bear your name.”

These sentiments were echoed by Adam Goldberg, BMO chief engineer: “Jeff has an amazing ability to build anything, and he created custom items to make our students’ lives better,” citing the innovative paging system Jones developed and installed that enables students, faculty and staff to contact the engineer on duty at any time.”

Dean of the College of the Arts Daniel Gurskis added to the accolades, sharing that “Jeff was such a positive influence … he always had a smile on his face, a positive outlook and something kind to say.”

The commemorative room plaque placed on the wall includes quotes from a number of former students, a testament to the many lives Jones touched during his influential career at Montclair.

“Spending time with Jeff was the daily exercise that my brain needed. I loved the television engineering class he taught and his enthusiasm to make anything work long past its expiration date,” said Ron Tomaino ’08, Albuquerque producer at 48 Hour Film Project.

Another sentiment is from Liz Sabagh ’89, a CNN editor, “Jeff is the best of humankind, and darn smart too! I’m honored and grateful to call him my friend.”

“Don’t know where many of us would be were it not for Jeff,” said Ray Santiago ’06, an ESPN producer.

Providing students and clients access to the industry’s latest digital, high definition production equipment is a hallmark of SCM. Along with his propensity to share life lessons, long stories and jokes, Jones will be remembered for his mastery of keeping all of the technology running smoothly.

Jeff Jones with Alumni
From left, Samantha Romano Spader ’16, director for News 12; Glenn Davidson ’03, media management engineer at Montclair State University; Jeff Jones; and Nicholas Franciosa ’18, IT staff, Little Falls School District.

Jones pointed out there’s a lot going on at BMO, and that many people don’t realize the intricate electronics and technical equipment being maintained behind the scenes.

In thanking those assembled, Jones said he was having a “Wordsworth moment,” expressing how moved and joyful he was, and he recited the poem ‘Daffodils,’ also known as ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ written by English poet William Wordsworth.

“I’m in awe, and this is one of those moments that will stand out in my life,” he said. “I believe the more of these experiences you have, the better person you become.”


Story by Development Communications Director Laura Iandiorio. Photos courtesy of Broadcast and Media Operations.