Maurice A. Jones, J.D.

Chief Executive Officer, Center for First-generation Student Success, NASPA

Maurice A. Jones is the CEO of the Center for First-generation Student Success, the only national organization solely focused on creating transformational change for FirstGen students across institutions of higher education.

Under his leadership, the Center is focused on deepening its relationships with institutions and FirstGen students, with plans to scale and reach hundreds of additional institutions and millions more FirstGen students in the next four years.

Before joining the Center in April 2024, Maurice founded MJConnects, a professional and business services firm that provides customer acquisition, fundraising, economic mobility, and other services to government, nonprofit, and for-profit clients. Prior to launching MJConnects, Maurice was the CEO of OneTen,  a coalition of leading chief executives and their companies who are coming together to upskill, hire, and promote one million Black individuals who do not yet have a four-year degree into family-sustaining jobs. During his time at OneTen, the coalition grew to more than 70 companies and partners with links to more than 100 talent development organizations. The efforts of OneTen and its member companies led to more than 65,000 people being hired into fulfilling careers with another 19,000 promoted into such positions.

Previously, Maurice was the President and CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), one of the country’s largest organizations supporting projects to revitalize communities and catalyze economic opportunity for residents. During his time at LISC, Maurice led the company’s effort to expand its footprint into the southern part of the country. He grew the company’s annual investment from one billion dollars to over two billion dollars. He also increased the economic development investments of LISC throughout the country, including launching a subsidiary company dedicated to small business lending. During his tenure, LISC diversified its partnerships with multiple industries, including healthcare, technology, sports, retail, and advanced manufacturing.

Earlier in his career, Maurice served as Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia where his primary job was to leverage Virginia’s assets to solidify its position as the preeminent place to live, work, and conduct business.

Maurice also served as Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from April 2012 through January 2014. As the second most senior official at HUD, Maurice managed the Department’s day-to-day operations, the annual operating budget of $40 billion, and the agency’s 8,900 employees.

Before his appointment at HUD, Maurice was President of Pilot Media, the largest print and digital organization in Hampton Roads, Virginia. He joined Landmark Media Enterprises, owner of Pilot Media, in 2005, serving as Vice President of the Landmark Publishing Group. In 2006, he became the Vice President and General Manager of Pilot Media, and, in 2008, he became President and Publisher of The Virginian-Pilot.

Maurice was also the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services and Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner. Other positions include: Special Assistant to the General Counsel at the U.S. Treasury Department, Legal Counsel to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and Director of the Fund during the Clinton Administration, Associate Attorney at Hunton & Williams in Richmond, Virginia, and Partner at Venture Philanthropy Partners.

A FirstGen student himself, Maurice received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hampden-Sydney College and attended Oxford University in England on a Rhodes Scholarship, where he received a Master of Philosophy in International Relations. He later received a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia.