It didn’t take Jamar Charles Everette Jones long to get past the freshman jitters that gripped him as he entered William & Mary in fall 2009. The suburban Richmond native, actor and theatre lover was unsure of what awaited him on the campus. “Would I be able to do the things I love? Would I make friends?” he wondered.
Now a senior double majoring in theatre and sociology, Jones was the person easing the jitters of prospective students and their parents as a senior interviewer and tour guide for the Office of Undergraduate Admission last summer. The experiences Jones has had in William & Mary’s Arts and Sciences have been immeasurable.
You can find Jones, who was voted William & Mary's 2012 Homecoming King, hosting a talent show or student open mic night, or helping to arrange dancers, plays and cultural events on campus as producing director of IPAX, International Performing Arts eXchange. The student-led organization is celebrating its sixth season bringing diversity and relevance to the stages and performance halls at William & Mary.
On Nov. 29, IPAX will produce a stage reading of Proposition 8 about California’s infamous ballot initiative to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.
“We’re always trying to push the envelope — to present things through the arts that people are talking about and concerned about in society,” Jones said. “We try to present relevant issues and bring that discussion to campus. Thus far, we are very fortunate. The audiences are receptive to it,” he said.
In March 2011, Jones co-created and co-directed an original work, The Color Complex, exploring the complexity of African-American culture and identity.
“William & Mary has given me the opportunity to explore what I like and gave me the tools to do that. Now I feel like I can just go out there and go for it!”
After commencement, Jones plans to enroll in graduate school and earn a master’s in fine arts in acting and performing. “With that, I’ll be able to teach at the collegiate level and help students trying to work on their talents. I’ll be able to produce shows, create venues for students to showcase their talent. And from there, the sky’s the limit,” he said.
Jones is bolstered by what he feels is lifelong support by his Theatre Department mentors, Associate Professor Francis Tanglao-Aguas and Assistant Professor Artisia Green.
Green, who is the past president of the Black Theatre Network, also arranged for Jones and another student to attend the organization’s annual national conference in Atlanta in July 2012. At the conference, Jones was selected as the group’s undergraduate liaison for the Black Theatre Network’s executive board. He will serve in the position for two years.
Annual gifts to William & Mary’s Arts and Sciences can make a major impact on students like Jamar, who appreciate the experiences and faculty support they receive.
“William & Mary has been very affirming for me,” Jones said. “I’ve had the freedom and the support to grow and explore and find out what I love about the arts. I’ve always felt like I have support – from friends and faculty members. Faculty have really encouraged me. They believed in me. They really want to see me succeed. That’s one of the greatest things William & Mary has given me.”