Gai Jones-100 Alumni You Should Know

Gai Jones-100 Alumni You Should Know


By Tailor Finney


For Gai Jones, an education at Oklahoma College for Women was a family affair. Her mother, Mildred Matthews Chambless was a graduate of OCW, and all three of the Chambless girls, including Gai, went on to become OCW graduates!

In reflecting on her mother, Jones remembered, “She continued to study at OCW just to keep learning, particularly enjoying studying with younger and older students. She was a vocal and tireless supporter of the college and particularly of older women returning to get an education.”

It is clear that Jones shares the same dedication to a life of learning.

Jones graduated in 1964 with a B.A. in Speech/Drama and went on to become the first woman to an MA in Theatre at California State University, Fullerton in 1968.

She taught theatre at El Dorado High School in Placentia, CA for thirty-four years. Upon retirement, the school honored Jones by changing the name of the Black Box Theatre to The Gai Jones Theatre.

Jones currently serves as Vice-President of the international honor society for CA Thespians (serving middle and shigh school students who excel in theatre) and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at CSU East Bay. She is the author of four theatre education books and teaches online courses as well as workshops throughout the nation.

She and her husband participate in Ventura Senior Readers Theatre, a group of retired educators who stage children's books and perform weekly in school in Ventura, CA. 

Jones feels that her greatest professional achievement is seeing her former students excel as theatre educators, casting directors, agents as well as serving alongside many of them on the Educational Theatre Foundation to raise scholarship monies for underserved schools to have a theatre program. 

"When I attended OCW, I was inspired by the well-renowned professors. I found my voice through the quality instruction and safe environments; this has guided me throughout my career and volunteerism to learn from the past, educate the present, and inspire the future."

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