Dan Jones, the president of Texas A&M University-Commerce, died Friday morning, the university announced in a note to students.
The cause of death was not immediately clear. He had been hospitalized earlier this month for an undisclosed "medical issue," the university had previously told the campus community.
“Dan Jones was one of our great presidents," A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said in a message to students Friday. "He had a vision for the future that was brilliant and courageous. We will make sure his plans become reality. We will miss him greatly.”
Jones, who was married and had two daughters, had served as president of A&M-Commerce since 2008. According to The East Texan, the A&M-Commerce student newspaper, he had been hospitalized on April 16. But last week he told university staff in an e-mail that he expected to be back to work soon.
In the e-mail, he urged the staff to take care of themselves, according to the student newspaper.
“Stress makes everything worse, taking a toll on body, mind and spirit,” Jones wrote, according to the paper. “We all know how stressful university life can be, for students, faculty, and staff alike, and I urge all of you who are dealing with stressful challenges in your life to get the rest and help your need. Even a lion needs a helping paw from time to time.”
A&M-Commerce said it was offering grief counseling to students, faculty and staff. Friday afternoon classes were cancelled, and Provost Adolfo Benavides urged faculty to help students who might need special accommodations as finals approach.
"During this difficult time let us pull together and find solace and support in each other," he said in an e-mail to the campus community.