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Fayetteville State University to Create the Institute for Ethics and Leadership


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The College of Humanities and Social Sciences at historically Black Fayetteville State University in North Carolina has announced the establishment of the Gillis-Jones Institute for Ethics and Leadership. William J. Gillis, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, committed $750,000 to honor a “simple act of kindness in troubled times” exchanged in 1945 between his father, Duncan Alexander “Zan” Gillis, and William Jones, a former business manager at what is now Fayetteville State University. On October 17, 1945, Zan Gillis and William Jones were conducting business at Branch Banking and Trust Company in Fayetteville when Gillis returned to his car to find a money box on the running board that Jones had inadvertently misplaced. Gillis immediately returned the money box to the bank, declining the reward that was offered. Jones wrote a simple yet profound thank you letter to Gillis, which survives them both. “For some years I have wanted to pay a token of honor, respect, and gratitude to the memory and life of my parents,” Will Gillis said. “I remembered a letter [sent] to my father from Mr. William Jones, the business manager of Fayetteville State Teachers’ College [FSU predecessor] at the time, thanking him for a simple act of kindness...