Dale Stratton Jones Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Dale Stratton Jones loved life. He lived a life focused on family, friends and deeply meaningful life experiences. He began his life among the most humble of beginnings and built a wildly successful career. Dale was an avid reader and a great listener. His life wasn’t without challenges and hardship. He knew hunger and pain, and he also lived a big life emblematic of a successful businessman who owned hundreds of companies. He often said, "It is a great life if you don't weaken." What he meant was… enjoy it. Enjoy it all, and don’t let the hard seasons of life weaken you. Learn from them and become stronger. His strength through all the seasons of his life was admired by many, including family, friends and colleagues. To know Dale was to want to be more like him.
From Lake County, Jones was raised by a single mother who was a traveling nurse across rural Florida in the 1930s and '40s. After earning his degree in civil engineering from North Carolina State University, a degree he worked to pay for by washing dishes and doing odd jobs, he returned to his native Florida to build a life. After two years of service in the United States Air Force at MacDill AFB, Jones began his career in construction. In 1958, he established Geiger-Jones Construction Company in Orlando. His first project was developing a Phillips 66 Service Station in Apopka. Not long after, Jones developed the Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce building on Lake Ivanhoe in Orlando. He sold his business and launched DSJ Development to focus on commercial development. Jones became a pioneer in developing "flex space," now known in the industry as showroom/warehouse space. Industry colleagues held him in the highest regard, often referring to him as the master of small tenant space. Jones was among the first to develop industrial sites along Silver Star Road and in the Pine Castle area south of Orlando. His company went on to become one of the largest industrial developers in Florida, with interests in Tampa, Orlando, Marco Island and Colorado.
While commercial development was a great love, Dale was devoted to his family and giving back to his community. He especially felt that education was critical — as education was the door to opportunity. He was the definition of “self-made” and lived a life supporting others in their own paths to similar self-made success. To this end, he enjoyed serving on the board of directors for the Foundation for Seminole State College, where his efforts changed the lives of many students by helping to create opportunities to receive an education. His philanthropic efforts continue through the service of his family, including his partner of 23 years, Dr. K. Kay Delk, a retired professor from Seminole State who taught at the College for 33 years, his step-daughter Meredith Delk and his step-granddaughter, Stratton Delk.
Upon his passing, the Dale Stratton Jones Memorial Endowed Scholarship was established to help students studying architecture, construction and engineering. Eligible students must possess a minimum 2.5 GPA. Preference will be given to students who are enrolled in at least nine credit hours, demonstrate financial need, or applicants who come from single-parent homes.