Alumni of Distinction

Congratulations to the 2024 recipients

Shelby Nelson headshot

Shelby Nelson

Sport Administration – 2000

With a love for sports and community, Shelby Nelson, a 2000 Sport Administration graduate, has dedicated 24 years to the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Beginning as an Account Executive, Shelby's career trajectory has seen him rise to Vice President of Florida Operations where he leads a team responsible for Spring Training, the Dunedin Blue Jays, and the Player Development Complex.

Shelby’s vision and leadership were crucial in the development of the world-class Player Development Complex and renovating TD Ballpark in Dunedin Florida. In addition to building partnerships with government to move the project forward, his collaboration with architects and management through construction phases—particularly during the pandemic—demonstrated his adeptness at navigating complex challenges. As one of the driving forces behind the project, Shelby’s work is a significant contribution to the sport and the community. The Blue Jays new Player Development Complex is recognized as the best in Major League Baseball.

The local face of the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Shelby is a respected community leader, actively participating in various local charities and groups and coaching kids’ sports.  In recognition of his long-time contributions to baseball in Dunedin, he was inducted to the City’s baseball Hall of Fame. Shelby's commitment to his alma mater is evident through student placement opportunities, hiring graduates, and participating in the DC Talks: Alumni Series.

Adam Ruppel

Business – Human Resources – 1997

Adam Ruppel’s passion, creativity and dedication have transformed the events industry. A 1997 graduate in Business Human Resources, he began his career in event management from the corner of his bedroom, founding Chico Racing. For the past 30 years, Adam has been at the helm of this company, producing the largest 24-hour mountain bike event in North America, the 24 Hours of Summer Solstice, held at Albion Hills Conservation Area.

He co-founded Mudhero under Crazy Canuck Events in 2011, quickly establishing it as Canada’s largest obstacle race, with 40 events and over 300,000 participants. In 2018, he sold the business and shifted his focus to the automotive industry where he continued to thrive. 

In 2021, Adam co-founded the Drive Festival at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, attracting over 30,000 attendees annually. This three-day outdoor automotive exhibition highlights the latest in car technology and features manufacturer displays, ride-alongs, car collections, clubs, motorcycles, and kid-friendly automotive experiences.

Adam’s commitment to community support is evident through charity runs, festivals, and a cycling fundraiser for his local hospital in Uxbridge. He actively gives back to DC by hiring graduates and offering placement opportunities. Adam’s contributions have significantly impacted tourism and economic development, establishing Clarington and Durham Region as premier destinations for automotive enthusiasts nationwide.

Alumni of Distinction Call for Nominations

Nominations are now closed.  The 2024 Awards will be presented at Spring Convocation in June.

Nominations for the 2025 Alumni of Distinction Awards will open in January 2025. For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Sally Hillis, Senior Alumni Development Officer, Advancement and Alumni Relations. 

Please note: Active DC employees, active members of Durham College Board of Governors and DCAA Board of Directors are not eligible to be nominated for an Alumni of Distinction Award.