Lynn L. Jones

Lynn Jones (BS ’71, MS ’75) made a decision at a young age to dedicate her life to serving others. She’s never wavered from that course, reaching out to people in need in whatever form necessary.

Many leaders in the Tulsa community know her service through her career at the Tulsa Police Department. By the time she retired in 2002, Jones held the rank of major and was the highest ranking woman on the force. Her career paved the way for future female officers in the Tulsa Police Department.

Jones joined the Tulsa Police in 1972 and was assigned to the Juvenile Division. She advanced through the department to the Patrol Division then the Detective Division. She was promoted to sergeant in 1976, and two years later became the first female officer-training supervisor at the Tulsa Police Academy. She was named a lieutenant in 1984 and major in 1997.

Capt. Richard Lawson, a TPD veteran and assistant training director at the police academy, worked with Jones when they were commanders within the Uniform Division North and later in the Detective Division. He said Jones broke the glass ceiling for female officers and represented the department well throughout her career. “She has always worked to make life better for people — first through law enforcement and then through her efforts within the community,” he said.

Since retiring, Jones has donated her time and talents to the Tulsa Sports Commission, Tulsa Transit, and Ronald McDonald House. For the past five years, she’s participated in the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office Reserve program.

For decades, she has spearheaded programs and events to help women, children, and educational causes. Among many honors, Jones has been inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame, was named Tulsa Volunteer of the Year, was given a Paragon Award from Leadership Tulsa, and received a leadership award from the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse.

“Lynn has all the skills of a leader. She is able to pull people together at the table to raise money or awareness for a good cause,” said close friend Penny Painter, a former executive director of the Resonance Center for Women.

Jones is married to James Medill and has two grown children: Eddie Pierce, who works for the Drug Enforcement Administration; and Jeanne, who works for the Tulsa Police Department. Jones also has a 14-year-old daughter, Kailynn, who was adopted from China.

During her years as a Tulsa police officer in the 1980s and 1990s, Jones said, she frequently revisited the area around TU because of the crimes near the campus. Now, she says, TU has become a major factor in improving the neighborhood.

“Instead of ignoring what was going on in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood, TU decided they wanted to help in the clean up,” she said. “It wasn’t just about TU. It was about being a good neighbor.”

Jones said that’s typical for the university, which has made a concerted effort to encourage volunteerism among students, faculty, and staff and to extend a helping hand to nearby schools and other community organizations through the True Blue Neighbors initiative.

Staying active in the TU Alumni Association also has been a priority for Jones, who has served on the National Board of Directors and is a past president of the association. She has dedicated her time and resources to the Golden Hurricane Club and TU athletics as well.

Jones encourages recent graduates and future alumni to stay connected with friends, make business contacts and support TU’s mission. “After graduation, most young people are focused on securing a good job, and participating in TU alumni activities is a great way to network and maintain a support system,” she said.

Jones began her college career at Iowa State University but said the small, family-like feeling of TU was a better fit for her and gave her the confidence to achieve the successes she found in the Tulsa Police Department. She said then-faculty members Nancy Feldman, Al Soltow and Barry Kinsey were valuable mentors.

“When I found out I would be honored as a Distinguished Alumna, I was overwhelmed,” she said. “I had tears in my eyes.”