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Jones, Clifford Bartlett (1885–1972)

Len Ainsworth Biography Entry

Clifford B. Jones, ranch manager, college president, and banker, was born to Charles Adam and Virginia (Bartlett) Jones on April 9, 1885, in Rico, Colorado. He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, where he graduated from Central High School in 1903 and subsequently worked as purchasing agent for the Kansas City Bag Manufacturing Company and as an officer in the Jacques Steel Company. He moved to West Texas in 1911 to help his father, who managed the Spur Ranch, owned by S. M. Swenson and Sons. Jones succeeded his father as ranch manager when the elder moved to Freeport in 1913. Clifford managed the Spur Ranch until 1939, when he became the third president of Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) in Lubbock. He had been an active supporter in early efforts to establish a state college in West Texas. He was named by Governor Pat Neff to the first board of directors of the college and was elected chairman of that group in 1927. In 1938, while he was still serving in that position, he was elected president of the college. After some controversy, his appointment was confirmed, and he was a popular president. From Texas Tech's first commencement through 1944, Jones signed every diploma as chairman of the board or as president of the college. In 1944 he resigned because of poor health.

He served as president of the Spur Security Bank from 1936 to 1939 and maintained controlling interest until 1962. He also served as board chairman of that bank and as director of the Mercantile National Bank in Dallas. He became a director of the Lubbock National Bank in 1944 and subsequently served as chairman of the board. Jones was a director of the Southwestern Public Service Company, life insurance and motor companies, and several railroad companies. He was mayor and president of the Chamber of Commerce of Spur. He held honorary degrees from McMurry College, Southwestern University, and Texas Technological College and was a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas.

Jones helped to organize the West Texas Chamber of Commerce and served as its third president. He supported West Texas through the Fort Worth-Roswell Highway Association and became vice president of the Texas Highway Association. He established a trust fund to initiate the building of a football stadium for Texas Tech, which the directors later named the Clifford B. and Audrey Jones Stadium. The stadium was dedicated in 1947. Jones was Public Works Administration regional advisor for Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana and a member of the original committee of 100 of the Texas Centennial Commission. He was an Episcopalian, a Rotarian, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, and a Democrat. He and Alice Louise Palmer were married in 1908; she died in 1919. In 1922 Jones married Audrey Barber. There were no children from either marriage. Jones died on November 27, 1972, in Lubbock and was buried there.

Seymour V. Connor, ed., Builders of the Southwest (Lubbock: Southwest Collection, Texas Technological College, 1959). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who's Who in America, 1938–39.


  • Education
  • University Presidents and School Administrators
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranch Managers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Len Ainsworth, “Jones, Clifford Bartlett,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 15, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.