They packed the Hyatt Regency Ballroom at 151 E. Wacker Dr. at a Gala.
Among the notables were U.S. Congressman Danny Davis, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and Cheryle Jackson, president of the Chicago Urban League.
The retirement celebration honored Jones for his 36 years of public service to the people of Illinois.
Emil Jones retired as Illinois Senate President on January 13, 2009.
He is considered one of the most influential African Americans in Illinois' political history.
"Emil brought more resources to the African American community during his tenure than any elected official that I've ever known in the history of the state of Illinois," said Congressman Danny Davis of the 7th Congressional District.
Emil Jones began his career in the Illinois Senate back in 1983.
He was elected minority leader in 1993, a position he held until he was elected Illinois Senate President in 2003.
"I feel good after 36 years," Jones said.
"All of my friends you see are gathered here really appreciate what I've done over the years, sometimes controversial, but they knew where I stood on the critical issues that relate to them."