Follow us on Instagram
Try our daily mini crossword
Play our latest news quiz
Download our new app on iOS/Android!

Friends and family remember Sophia Jones ’27, ‘incandescent spirit’ and accomplished ballerina

Sophia Jones McCosh Courtyard 2.jpg
Sophia at McCosh courtyard.
Courtesy of Juliet Sorensen '95

First-year student Sophia Jones, a devoted ballerina remembered by family and friends for her love and affection, died on campus on Wednesday, Nov. 29. She was 18. A prospective molecular biology major and a member of Yeh College, Jones was a lifelong dedicated and passionate dancer who had a love for animals, teaching, and hoped to pursue pediatric medicine after graduating.

When asked about what they wanted Jones to be most remembered by, her father, Ben Jones ’95, replied with “her joy and the joy she took in helping others,” while her mother, Juliet Sorensen ’95, answered with “her incandescent spirit.”


“You knew when she was in the room with you,” Jones remarked. “And the room was warmer and richer for her presence.”

Sophia Jones with Siblings.jpg
Sophia with her brother Hugh after the birth of her sister Thea.
Courtesy of Juliet Sorensen '95

In a Zoom interview with the ‘Prince,’ Jones’s friend and roommate Riley O’Hare ’27 described her as an approachable and sociable person.

“She was a really easy person to talk to. She was a great listener. She was great at striking up a conversation with anyone,” O’Hare said. “I think that part of her personality helped her get to know a lot of people in her short time here, and she made a lot of friends.”

Riley O'Hare and Sophia Jones Clash of the Colleges 2023.jpg
Sophia with Riley during Clash of the Colleges.
Courtesy of Riley O'Hare '27

Sophia Sorensen Jones was born in Chicago on Feb. 20, 2005. Her mother, Sorensen, is a clinical professor of law at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, and her father, Ben Jones, is an economist and a professor of entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


Jones attended Francis W. Parker School in Chicago from kindergarten through 10th grade, after which she enrolled at United World College Red Cross Nordic in Flekke, Norway, and graduated with an International Baccalaureate.

According to her mother, who was also a ballerina, Jones learned to dance when she was only two years old — almost as soon as she learned to walk. She trained at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago under the tutelage of Patricia Kleckovic, Birute Barodicaite, and Dolores Lipinski. 

Jones’s parents remarked that dancing brought their daughter great joy, and even after she decided not to pursue a professional career, she continued to dance nearly daily when at home. She also taught dance while studying in Norway for her last two years of high school.

In the fall of 2019, Jones took part in a week-long exchange, arranged by Ruth Page Center director Victor Alexander, that sent ballet students to the prestigious Escuela Nacional Cubana de Ballet in Havana to live with a host family while studying ballet for a week.

Get the best of ‘the Prince’ delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe now »

Sorensen reflected on the connection she had with her daughter that was articulated through their shared experience as dancers.

“[Ballet] was really a continuous dialogue between us. It's a very absorbing art form like any other art form, and because I'm also a dancer, it was something we spoke of constantly,” Sorensen reflected. “To be able to dance with her — such a beautiful and proficient dancer as she was — was really one of the great joys of my life.”

Sorensen told the ‘Prince’ that Jones particularly enjoyed performing variations of Giselle, the classical ballet masterpiece.

Sophia Jones Ballet 2.jpg
Sophia during ballet practice at Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago in December of 2019.
Courtesy of Juliet Sorensen '95

Jones was determined to join Princeton University Ballet (PUB) before she had even arrived as a first-year student, according to her parents. She eventually became a member of the company and danced in four pieces in its most recent show, “Symphony,” in November.

“Sophia was a treasured member of our company and we are all grateful to have known her. She had a contagious joy that impacted everyone around her and her spirit was unfaltering—from late night rehearsals to long days backstage she never ceased to exercise humor, kindness, and warmth and inspired us all as both a talented dancer and cherished friend,” read a statement from PUB that was posted online and shared with the 'Prince.'

A voracious reader who enjoyed reading history and especially English history, Jones was enrolled in GER218: Medieval Gender Politics — Wicked Queens, Holy Women, Warrior Saints. Jones’ parents told the ‘Prince’ that she often wrote to her parents about the course readings and its trip to examine rare, illuminated manuscripts stored in Firestone Library’s Special Collections.

In addition to PUB, Jones was also a fellow with Princeton Science Outreach, through which she engaged in hands-on science experiments and activities with K-12 students in schools and community programs.

Jones’s father told the ‘Prince’ that as she grew older, she began to share her father’s tastes in music. Among her favorite artists were Steppenwolf, Radiohead, and Leonard Cohen. Ben Jones remembered that he and his daughter would “trade back and forth” about the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, or other rock and acoustic bands.

“She was very present emotionally in the family. [When we were in the Rockies], I would say, ‘does anyone want to go for a hike?’ She would be the one to always say, ‘Yes!’” Ben Jones reflected. “If I said I wanted to go for a hike, she's the kind of person who says, ‘Well, I don't want dad to go alone for a hike, so I guess I'll go with him.’”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones began baking pies, cakes, cookies, and other desserts for her family and friends, later starting a delivery service for them in the Chicago area under the Instagram account of

Both O’Hare and Jones’s parents described her as a lover of animals, especially their family pets. When their cat Tippy died at the age of 17, Jones mourned her by making an altar. When the family received a new group of kittens, Jones made sure to regularly sleep with the smallest of them, Lynxie, who imprinted on Jones and always followed her around.

O’Hare told the ‘Prince’ that she and Jones regularly bonded over their dogs: O’Hare’s labrador retriever Finley and Jones’s golden retriever Archie.

In addition to her parents, Jones is survived by her younger brother Hugh, and her younger sister Thea. 

Allan Shen is a senior News contributor for the ‘Prince.’

Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]