Public Service Guru Dick Cone Bids JEP Adieu

by Melissa Payton

Photo by Irene Fertik
Dick Cone is leaving USC at the end of this month, 25 years after the Peace Corps veteran took a job with the university’s Joint Educational Project.

JEP, a budding program in 1976 that combined academic learning with experience teaching in neighborhood schools, blossomed under his leadership. After taking over as director in 1980, Cone ushered JEP through another two decades of growth, developing it into one of the nation’s leading models of service learning.

For his work, Cone earned a USC Staff Achievement Award in 1997. Another measure of his stature in the field is that California Campus Compact presents a Richard E. Cone Award each year for leadership in cultivating community partnerships in higher education.

In the citation for his Staff Achievement Award, Cone was praised as a "visionary whose leadership and dedication to public service have made it possible for tens of thousands of students to serve their communities and to put into practice concepts they learned in the classroom."

After graduating from Cal State Long Beach, Cone and his wife, Jean, joined the Peace Corps from 1964-66 as teachers in Turkey. After a three-year teaching assignment in Compton, Cone returned to international teaching with assignments in Brazil, Iran and Jamaica, among other places. In 1973, Cone returned to the United States to earn his master’s and Ed.D. in educational psychology at UCLA.

After Cone retires as executive director, Director Tammara Seabrook Anderson, a 20-year veteran of JEP, will lead the organization. Cone will continue his work on local boards and serve as a consultant in the field of service learning.