Mr. George Herbert Jones, a former president of Inland Steel Corporation of Chicago, donated $150,000 to the construction of Jones Hall in 1937. Ground for Jones Hall (the third dormitory built on campus; it is an all-female dorm that houses 77 women) was broken in June of 1941; however, less than a month later Jones died. On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japanese planes, and because of the demands of World War II, construction had to be stopped. After the war ended, Jones' daughter, Ruth Allison Jones,contacted the College about completing the project. By 1946,construction costs exceeded her father's initial gift. When Mrs.Allison agreed to donate $125,000, Phillip B. Maher of Chicago was selected as the architect, and construction began. Because of a conflict with local unions, Blackburn students did not do construction, but by the J.J. Wellner and Sons Company from Alton, IL. A large portion of Jones-Allison formally housed the college food service and dining hall. That section of the building has been renovated into a center for the instruction of business administration and a multi-purpose area suitable for conferences and banquets.
When the building was dedicated on October 1, 1949, Mrs. Allison unveiled a portrait of her father and gave the keys to Judge Victor E. Hemphill, President of the Board of Trustees. Dr.William Hudson, who had retired from his post of President of Blackburn, delivered the dedicatory speech. In 1972, a major renovation to the dining hall--which is attached
to Jones Hall--was funded by the Kresge Foundation and two members of the Board of Trustees, Dr. John H. Flora and Mr. John M. Schmidt. The dining area was then renamed Schmidt Commons, to honor Mr.Schmidt for his generous financial support. The dining hall has recently been relocated to the Demuzio Campus Center, however it still bears the name Schmidt Commons.