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 Nomination Form
Albion College's Hall of Fame honors individuals who made exceptional contributions to the field of athletics, either as students or as alumni. Plaques honoring these inductees are on display in the main hallway of the Dow Recreation and Wellness Center. Any Albion alumnus/a may submit names of candidates for consideration by the selection committee. Simply review the criteria and complete the nomination form. All nominations must be received no later than April 1. If you need information about past Hall of Fame inductees or the selection process, please contact Elinor Marsh, Executive Director of Alumni Engagement at 517/629-0448 or
- The nominee, if an athlete, must have been out of Albion College at least 10 years.
- The nominee, if an athlete, must have earned two letters in one sports or one letter in three or more sports.
- The nominee does not necessarily have to be a graduate of Albion, but must have been a former student.
Coach/athletic administrator/athletic trainer/student manager
- The nominee in cases of coaches, athletic administrators or others need not necessarily have been a former student, but must have served the College for at least 10 years. Student managers must have been a student at Albion College and served all four years.
- The nominee can be selected immediately after leaving the institution or immediately after retirement. The student managers must wait 10 years.
- The team must have won an MIAA Championship.
- The team would be eligible 10 years after competition.