DAA Winner: Richard B. Jones, ’71
For 24 of his 38 years in education, Richard Jones was employed as a teacher, coach, and principal at North Farmington High School in suburban Detroit—but what he did there reached far beyond any of those job expectations. An innovative and out-of-the-box thinker, Jones implemented programs that energized and inspired not only his own students and teachers, but the Farmington community and other educators across the country. Upon his retirement in 2011, North Farmington High School’s main building was renamed the Richard B. Jones Academic Center. The school’s athletic campus is also named in his honor.
Jones’ legacy includes his implementation of school year “themes” that involved students, teachers, parents, and the community in exploration of social justice issues through numerous interdisciplinary activities. Environmentalism and sustainability, civil rights, and the revitalization of Detroit were among the topics studied, with the goal of moving the students “from awareness to activism.” During the school’s yearlong examination of genocide, Jones was co-recipient of the Anne Frank Center USA’s Spirit of Anne Frank Outstanding Educator Award. Jones and North Farmington joined forces with a high school in Danbury, Connecticut, together raising over $135,000 to build “Promise School” in Sudan as an activism project for the genocide study.
Not surprisingly, Jones has earned many awards for excellence, including four Teacher-of-the-Year honors; he is also a recipient of the Great Seal of Michigan, for his school’s efforts to pass a state divestiture bill regarding Sudan. He is Michigan’s 2008-09 High School Principal of the Year. Jones has been on the board of the Michigan Chapter of the National Football Foundation since 1995, and since 2004 has traveled to Mali, in West Africa, three times as a member of a medical team.
A Detroit native, Jones spent 14 years as a teacher and coach in Bay County, Florida, before moving to Farmington Hills. He earned a master’s degree in movement science and sports psychology from Florida State University, where he also studied school administration.
As a student at Albion, Jones played varsity baseball, was a member of Alpha Tau Omega, and founded Albion’s chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
He and his wife, Kathy, are the parents of Keely and Lauren, and live in Farmington Hills.
DAA Winner: Duane Nelles, ’66
Like many good economics and mathematics students, Duane Nelles was attracted to the world of accounting, where he quickly built a very successful career. So it may have surprised some when he turned to venture capitalism, but the move proved to be beneficial both for Nelles and the little startup that caught his eye. Partially thanks to his investment, and his presence on its board for nearly a quarter century, the “little startup,” Qualcomm, has become a global leader in telecommunications, supporting most wireless technologies including cell phones with all their numerous applications.
Nelles’s accounting career began in 1968 in the Detroit office of what was then Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers). After just four years, he opened Coopers & Lybrand’s San Diego office and became a partner in 1974. Over the next 14 years, Nelles worked with the firm’s California-based clients while directing several administrative operations in the San Diego office.
In 1988 Nelles left public accounting to become president of a private venture capital firm in La Jolla. In that role he made many venture capital investments including Qualcomm, now one of the largest companies in the world. He had further success in venture capital having served on numerous boards of directors including Price/Costco, Wescorp, and WFSI Financial. In addition to his position on Qualcomm’s board, he is currently a board member for American Assets Trust (a NYSE-listed real estate investment trust). Over the years Nelles has served on many boards of not- for-profit organizations, chairing the Salvation Army board in San Diego.
Despite the distance between San Diego and southern Michigan, Nelles continues to have an active interest in Albion College. He has underwritten several alumni events in the southern California region and is an informal adviser to President Donna Randall and a leading donor to the President’s Discretionary Fund. In spring 2010, Nelles and his wife, Gail, returned to Albion, where he divided his time between executive planning sessions and meetings with Gerstacker Institute students.
Nelles received an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. He and Gail live in La Jolla, California and Sun Valley, Idaho, and have two sons and four grandchildren.
Athletic Hall of Fame
The purpose of the Albion College Athletic Hall of Fame is to recognize those individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the achievements and prestige of Albion College in the field of athletics. Men and women are honored either by virtue of their performance on athletic teams representing the College, or by meritorious efforts in years after graduation. An athlete must have earned two letters in one sport or one letter in three or more sports.
The 2014 Individual Honorees
- Chris Barnett, ‘97
- Jason Beglin, ‘97
- John Bennink, ‘02
- Timothy Czarnecki, ‘00
- Paul Holdren, ‘74
- J. Matthew Lowman, ‘97
- Nicholas E. Morgan, ‘04
- Virgil Petty, ‘99
- Chris Schuurman, ‘94
- Katherine Waters Sobolewski, ‘00
The 2014 Team Honorees
A ceremony honoring the recipients will be held on Friday, October 3, at 6 p.m. in Baldwin Hall. The event, part of Albion College Homecoming 2014 festivities, is open to the public. Tickets for the ceremony can be purchased as part of Homecoming online registration, or contact the Office of Alumni Engagement: 517/629-0448,
The College's athletics website, GoBrits.com, has a full list of past honorees.
Hall of Fame Questionnaire