On April 26, 2001 Sam Jones was awarded the IUPUI Chancellor's Medallion by Chancellor Gerald L. Bepko at the 13th Annual Spirit of Philanthropy Luncheon for his commitment to equal opportunity and inclusion of all people. As the inaugural president of the Indianapolis Urban League (IUL), Jones served tirelessly for over 35 years, creating countless opportunities for African Americans with housing, employment, health care, education, and citizenship. During his presidency, the IUL awarded well over $120,000 in scholarships to African Americans and other minorities. The IUL also established the Business Development Center, one of the first of its kind in the nation, to provide counseling services to minority entrepreneurs wanting to begin or improve their business skills.
Jones was a valued member of Chancellor Bepko's Board of Advisors at IUPUI, where Jones is also honored through the Sam H. Jones Community Service Scholarship, awarded to students based on exemplary service in their community, their high school, or at IUPUI.
In 2007, the City of Indianapolis renamed the Airport Expressway to the Sam Jones Expressway in honor of the local civic leader.