DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Wright State alum is paying it forward in a big way. 

Education has always played an important role in Cynthia Jones’s life. Her grandmother and mother, who never graduated high school themselves, encouraged Jones and her eight siblings to work hard in school.

“My mother and my grandmother were two of the strongest women that I know,” Jones said. “They felt very strongly about our education.”

The influence stuck with her and after 14 years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force, she decided to pursue her master’s degree in teaching at Wright State University.

As a divorced, single mother of five, money was tight for Jones and her family. A scholarship, awarded to her at the recommendation of a professor, was enough to keep her degree on track.

“I just thought that was the greatest thing in the world that someone saw something in me and gave me something,” said Jones. “It was very much appreciated and very much needed at the time.”

She credits her experience at WSU with earning her a teaching position at Dayton Public Schools and said the opportunity afforded her a better life. That’s why Jones decided to make a unique donation to the university.

“I don’t have a lot of money, but I have things,” she said. “I have something that I can leave and pay it forward for others to enjoy.”

In her will, Jones is leaving her two story, brick colonial house to WSU. Upon her death, the school can use the money from the home’s sale to fund scholarships for minority students and students with disabilities.

It was a way for the alum to make a large gift without donating cash.

Bill Bigham, the director of planned giving at WSU said, “We have a lot of alums who have made gifts to Wright State, but this is a personal one. This is one that was driven by her desire to want to make a gift.”

“It makes me happy,” Jones added. “It pleases me to know that when I’m gone from this earth, that something I did here will still live on.”

The scholarship amount and its distribution will be determined after the school acquires the Jones property.