Business

Glenn Jones, cable pioneer, dies at 85

Business leader helped expand online education

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Over five decades, Glenn R. Jones helped bring cable television to American homes, used the Internet to educate, authored numerous books and created businesses in the digital, entertainment and sales worlds, among a long list of other accomplishments.

Jones died on July 7 at age 85.

“All of us in the Jones family would like to say the heartfelt words to Glenn that he said to so many of us, 'Although you may leave us, you will always belong,' ” said Stacey Slaughter, CEO of Jones/NCTI.

Jones held positions including chairman and CEO of Jones International Ltd., founder of Centennial-based Jones International University and executive chairman of Jones/NCTI. 

“Glenn was a man before his time. He transformed the communications, information, entertainment and educational landscape by bringing cable television to millions of Americans," Slaughter said. "He freed higher education from the brick walls of traditional universities by bringing learning to people in their own homes, first via cable and later through the Internet and mobile devices."

One of his last projects included the Jones District in Centennial, which broke ground last October and will be a mixed-use urban development community with 1.8 million square feet of residential, commercial and retail use. It was his first stab as a developer.

“Just last October Glenn attended the groundbreaking for the Jones District, the city's first transit-oriented development. As always, it was great to see him,” said Centennial Mayor Cathy Noon. “He will be dearly missed.”

A life of achievement

Jones earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Allegheny College, served in the Navy and attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School for two years before obtaining his law degree from the University of Colorado in 1961. He also completed the Executive Program at Stanford Business School.

After school, he worked with cable television by representing companies in acquisition efforts. In 1964, he set aside his law career to make an unsuccessful run for Congress in Colorado's First Congressional District in Denver, then continued his focus on the cable television industry.

After borrowing $400 against his Volkswagen in 1967 to purchase his first cable system in Georgetown, he became the first person in the industry to organize public limited partnerships to raise capital for cable acquisitions. His partnerships raised more than $1.2 billion in equity capital.

Jones Intercable grew to become one of the nation's 10 largest cable television operators over the course of 32 years.

In the 1990s, Jones created Jones International University, the first online-only university and the first of its kind to receive accreditation from a nationally recognized regional accrediting agency.

He also helped other universities and corporations under Jones Knowledge Group Inc. by founding an online course management and delivery platform known as Jones e-education: the Software Standard and Jones eGlobal Library, founded in 1994 to build digital libraries for academic achievement and lifelong learning.

Also in the 1990s, Jones Media Networks Ltd., a network content and e-commerce company that developed programming for radio, television, cable TV networks and the Internet was formed. Jones Radio Networks, a subsidiary of JMN became the leading independent provider of high-quality programming to radio stations globally. Those and other operations in JMN were sold in 2008 to Triton Media Group.

The 2000s marked the acquisition of a major provider of cable industry training and certifications, NCTI, to form Jones/NCTI. Jones/NCTI powers front-line teams and drives performance in the cable and broadband industry with learning content and mobile tools that are designed for the way people learn today.

Jones was on a large number of boards and committees, including cable and technology operations, the board of the Denver Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, and an honorary lifetime trusteeship with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Lifetime of laurels

Glenn R. Jones was honored repeatedly over the course of his life:

Halls of Fame

Inducted into the Troops to Teachers Hall of Fame, 2013

Inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame, 2013

Inducted into the Cable Television Hall of Fame, 2005

Inducted into the U.S. Distance Learning Association Hall of Fame, 2004

Inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, 1994

Awards

Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst & Young, 2012

Community Enrichment Award from the Mizel Museum, 2012

Blended Learning Champion Award from the Donnell Kay Foundation, 2011

National Boy Scouts Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, 2007

Most Outstanding Corporate Individual Achievement Award from the International Distance Learning Association, 1993

Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement for outstanding contributions in the field of education, 1994

Named Man of the Year by the Denver chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists, 1994

Humanitarian Award from the Denver Chapter of Volunteers of America, 2002

Lone Sailor Award for outstanding service to the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) community, awarded by the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation, 1997

Colorado Law Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Colorado Law School March, 1996

Published Works

Cyberschools: An Education Renaissance (1996, 2000, 2002, 2010)

Free Market Fusion (1999)

The Jones Telecommunications and Multimedia Encyclopedia (1996)

Make All America a School (1991)

Jones Dictionary of Cable Television Terminology (1976, 1978, 1987)

Briefcase Poetry of Yankee Jones Volumes I, II, & III (1978, 1981, 1985)

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