top of page

2019 Distinguished Alumni Selected

The Mariemont Alumni Association and the Mariemont School Foundation are pleased to announce the recipients of Mariemont High School’s seventh annual Distinguished Alumni Award. The award recognizes Mariemont High School graduates of at least 10 years who have notably distinguished themselves by extraordinary contributions and/or remarkable accomplishments in their chosen career; skill, trade or business; in civic duties; in military service; in philanthropy; in volunteerism; in the arts; in the sciences; in education; in religion; or any other field, endeavor or pursuit.

The 2019 recipients are Jim Carter, class of 1961, and Don Shackelford, class of 1950. The seventh class of recipients was selected from nominations submitted to a committee of Mariemont School Foundation (MSF) board members. Past honorees include a variety of truly distinguished alumni, such as Jeffrey Anderson, Marie Huenefeld, Mark Lippert, and James Verdin.

On Friday, October 11, these extraordinary alumni will return to Mariemont High School, where they will spend the day meeting the faculty, visiting with current MHS students and sharing their stories of success. That evening, they will be featured as honored guests in the district’s annual Homecoming Parade. Finally, the two will be formally introduced and honored before the Homecoming football game at Kusel Stadium.

Donald Shackelford (Don) is recognized for his outstanding leadership in the business and philanthropic arenas in Central Ohio. He is a graduate of Denison University and Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar. Don then went on to serve as a Captain in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. He was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of State Savings Bank for twenty-five years and, following its acquisition by Fifth Third Bank, he went on to become Chairman of Fifth Third Bancorp, Central Ohio.

In addition to his success as a leader at Fifth Third, it is difficult to match his contributions to the Central Ohio business and non-profit communities, given the tremendous variety of organizations that Don has impacted and led. He has served as a director at Worthington Foods, Abercrombie and Fitch, Limited Brands, Progressive, Insignia Bank and The Jeffrey Company. He was Chairman of Diamond Hill Investment in Columbus and served as the Director and Chair of the Ohio State University Board of Trustees and as a Director of the Ohio State University Physicians. He has been a Trustee for Denison University and Chairman for the Affordable Housing Trust for Franklin County, a Trustee for the Columbus Museum of Art and served on the Board for the United Way for Central Ohio.

Last year, Don and his wife, Teckie, were honored with the prestigious Gerlach Award for 2018, given to The Outstanding Development Volunteer for “the utmost in dedicated involvement and personal investment in fundraising efforts at Ohio State.”

James Carter (Jim) is being honored for his unparalleled dedication and accomplishments to improve the lives of thousands of children and families at Child Focus, Inc. He holds a Masters in Special Education from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Science in Theology from Cincinnati Bible Seminary. Jim recently retired as Chief Executive Officer of Child Focus, a position he has held since 1979, when it was called Clermont County Diagnostic Center. During his tenure, Jim transformed the organization into Child Focus, Inc., which under Jim’s leadership has grown from helping under 300 children to positively impacting 15,000 children, families and adults by offering early learning, mental health, school, foster care and a wide variety of community services. The agency now serves 17 counties and provides the most necessary and critical help to the most vulnerable and needy populations, including children who are hurting, live in poverty or struggle with mental illness. Under Jim’s direction, Child Focus has been able to increase its resources from a budget of $160,000 and a six-person staff to over 320 employees with an $18 million budget, significantly broadening and deepening the agency’s impact on those it serves.  After forty years of turning Child Focus into what it is today, Jim recently returned to Mariemont for his retirement celebration in June.  


Jim’s commitment to helping children and families extends beyond Child Focus, as well. He worked internationally in 2015, collaborating with schools in Ryazan, Russia regarding Bullying Intervention Programs, as part of the Peer-to-Peer program of the US Embassy in Russia, and provided like services in Ireland. Jim also worked extensively with survivors of disasters. In 1972, he worked with schools, families and children who lost friends and family members in the Buffalo Creek Dam disaster. He returned to West Virginia in 1974 to work with the schools and parents of children who survived. He also worked with Arnold and Porter, a DC law firm, in preparing a lawsuit on behalf of the 398 children who survived the West Virginia disaster in 1977.  He assisted Wayne Township Elementary School, which lost one third of their staff in the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire and has also given his time to support schools and FEMA after the tornadoes of Sayler Park, Xenia, and Moscow, Ohio and around the New Richmond flood.


bottom of page