USU Human Development and Family Studies Loses Beloved Professor

Utah State University Professor Randy Jones passed away suddenly on April 27. For 27 years, Jones was a faculty member in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. As the graduate coordinator, he was a favorite among students due to his infectious and endearing personality. 

When Beth Fauth, a colleague and friend of Jones’s, moved into the office next door, she “gradually got to know this guy with the crazy hair.” She said, “while his emails were short, his face-to-face conversations with students were long and generous with advice and support. If a student knocked on his door, Randy gave them 100 percent of his time and attention.”

Jones was the “research methods guy” for HDFS for many years. Fauth related that some students felt intimidated to speak with Jones for the very first time; they feared that an expert would surely tell them they were wrong or that they didn’t know enough. These students quickly learned that he wasn’t there to make them feel small—he wanted to talk them through the problem and help them get to a good solution.

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Jones studied adolescence and had an impressive research career, winning many prestigious awards. One such accolade was the Graduate Mentor of the Year award presented by Utah State University in 2009. Fauth noted that this university “has many talented and amazing mentors, and it says a lot that Randy rose to the top.”

Attending Utah State University as both an undergraduate and graduate student, Jones earned his bachelor's in psychology and his master's in family and human development. He then went on to earn his doctorate in educational psychology at the University of Arizona. He began his career in research on identity statuses when he went to work for the Navy Substance Abuse Prevention program, and he continued this research in several Arizona schools until it was incorporated into drug prevention programs in schools statewide by the Arizona Department of Education in 1986. 

Jones and his wife Terri met in 1993, and they shared 25 amazing years together. He moved back to Logan in 1990 to continue his research and teaching career with the Family and Human Development (now the Human Development and Family Studies Department) at Utah State University. Jones’s presence is deeply missed by his colleagues and friends in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.

A celebration of Jones’s life will be held Friday, May 10, at noon, at Webb Funeral Home in Preston, Idaho. A visitation will be held from 10–11:30 a.m., also at the funeral home. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at

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