Marcellus Jones brought joy to all he met. A mixologist, Marcellus worked in several bars and restaurants throughout the years, earning him the title of “Cape’s Favorite Mixologist.” His infectious smile, warm personality and ability to connect with others made him many friends. Although not a native of Cape Girardeau, Marcellus established a family in his classmates and professors at Southeast Missouri State University, his teammates on the Kohlfeld Scorpions Rugby Club and the Southeast football team, his brothers in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and in all those he befriended. Whether he was telling a joke, offering advice or wearing one of his favorite bright colors, Marcellus lit up the room.
On June 9, 2018, Marcellus passed away and left a void in the lives of all who had known him. Friends and family all over the world, some as far as Australia, rallied to create something to honor his memory. The Marcellus Jones Memorial Foundation was soon established to raise funds in memory of Marcellus to provide scholarships, as well as sponsoring local sports teams and events to encourage wellness and healthy living.
From the start, the foundation knew they wanted to do something to impact the lives of students in a big way, much like Marcellus impacted the lives of all those he met. With a desire to make education possible for students in the hospitality management field, the Marcellus Jones Memorial Foundation approached the Southeast Missouri University Foundation in 2018 to create a partnership and accomplish two of its primary goals: to make a big difference in the lives of students and to create a legacy that will carry the memory of Marcellus on in perpetuity.
To achieve the first goal, the foundation made an initial major gift to create the Marcellus Jones Memorial Scholarship at the Southeast Missouri University Foundation, to be awarded to two Southeast students majoring in hospitality management.
Susan King, Vice President of the Marcellus Jones Memorial Foundation and liaison to the University, says “We want to dramatically impact a student in a positive way with a significant award to alleviate the cost of education and open doors of endless possibility.”
For Nick Fuller, receiving this award means an opportunity to realize his dreams and see the world. “When I was a child I would always lay on my grandmother’s bed and look at photos she had from vacations she had taken in her youth," Nick says. "I studied the beauty of many different locations and dreamed about being able to work in an environment like the ones I saw in her photos one day.” Receiving this scholarship provided Nick with the opportunity to travel to New York City for an internship, as well as apply for an internship in Japan at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Jada Goodman also received this award and is on track to graduate early and hopes to work in management in a hotel or restaurant, all while volunteering in her community. She has experienced great success as the Arts and Entertainment Coordinator for Student Activities Council and as a learning assistant.
The foundation then went on to their second goal and established an additional scholarship, this time as an endowment at the Southeast Missouri University Foundation, guaranteeing Marcellus’ legacy will create a lasting impact for students at Southeast Missouri State University. Future generations of students will gain knowledge and acquire experience so that they may bring joy to others.