Skip To Main Content
estella jones

Rear Admiral Dr. Estella Jones, Class of 1976, will address Emma Willard School’s graduating Class of 2024 at the 210th Commencement exercises.

Dr. Jones was the first black female veterinarian promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, assuming the responsibilities of Assistant Surgeon General in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS).

In service to the USPHS, Rear Admiral Jones provided the strategic and executive direction for programs combatting global health threats and disease. Her oversight supported the Food and Drug Administration’s global Medical Countermeasures Initiative, providing important protections against biological, chemical, or infectious disease emergencies. At the onset of COVID-19, Rear Admiral Jones was selected by US public health officials to join the pandemic response team, tasked with creating test sites across the nation and training test site staff.

Dr. Jones previously worked for the World Health Organization’s Institute for Primate Research in Nairobi, Kenya, and held a faculty position in comparative medicine and anesthesiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Jones retired in 2023 and resumed veterinary practice for small animals in the Washington, DC area.

A recipient of the 2021 Alumnae Career Achievement Recognition from Emma Willard, Jones has also received national recognition, including a Distinguished Service Medal, a Presidential Citation, the Health and Human Services Secretary Budget, Crisis Response Service Award, Veterinary Responder of the Year, and numerous other commendations.

Rear Admiral Jones, known to many of her fellow Emma Willard alumnae as “Peaches,” was featured in the spring 2023 issue of Signature magazine for her appearance on the Moth Radio Hour on NPR. Broadcast live in 2022 from the Troy Savings Music Hall, Jones’ story entitled “Taking Risks” chronicled her rise to admiralship and the impact time spent with wild primates had on her as a veterinarian.

Emma Willard welcomes Dr. Jones back to campus for Commencement on June 2, 2024.


Find more interesting stories about Emma Willard School on our Newsroom page.