College of Education Honors Distinguished Alumni

College also recognizes Friends of Education.

Texas Tech University's College of Education today (April 22) honored two Distinguished Alumni and two Friends of Education at a luncheon at the Merket Alumni Center. Nelda M. Laney and Nola H. Wellman received honors as 2009 Distinguished Alumni. The college established the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1985 for outstanding achievement, both inside and outside the profession. Recipients have received one or more degrees or teacher certifications from Texas Tech, are distinguished in their professional and personal endeavors and have continued interest in the field of education. James C. Arnold and Michael D. Shonrock were recognized as 2009 Friends of Education. The college established the Friend of Education Award in 1976, to pay tribute to Helen Devitt Jones, a long-time benefactor of the college. The award is given to supporters of the college and of Texas Tech who have gone above and beyond the typical level of involvement and support. A native of Plainview, Laney earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Texas Tech after marrying Texas Tech alumnus Pete Laney, a self-employed farmer in Hale County who served the Texas House of Representatives for more than 30 years. Laney serves on the National Board of Directors for the Texas Tech Alumni Association (president-elect), State Board for Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas, as well as Central Plains and Greater Texas Community Partners. She is a Texas board member for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Past community involvement is extensive including Texas Tech Foundation Board, Texas Capitol Restoration Fund Drive and Celebration, Legislative Ladies Club and Texas Historical Art Committee, among others. Wellman, a native of Odessa, earned her bachelor's degree in English literature from Texas Tech. She received a master's degree in reading and administration from Colorado State University and her doctoral degree in administration, curriculum and supervision from the University of Colorado. She returned to Texas in 2004 to accept the position of superintendent at Eanes I.S.D. in Austin, after spending her professional career as an educator and administrator in Colorado. Wellman participates in several national consortiums dedicated to improving the quality of public education and is among a group of 35 public school superintendents who formed the Public Education Visioning Institute. She is the chairperson of the Texas Center for Educational Research and serves on the legislative committee of the Texas Association of School Administrators. Wellman is a member of the Executive Committee of the UIL. Arnold, of Lubbock, began his career as an educator at Atkins Junior High after graduating from Texas A&M University in Education Curriculum and Instruction. While at Atkins he was nominated Who's Who in Teaching, awarded a lifetime membership to the Parent Teacher Association, was Staked Plains Council for the Social Studies teacher of the year, and participated in more than twenty committees and workshops dedicated to the improvement of Texas schools. He has been a member of the Helen Jones Foundation since 1999, and became president and executive director of its board in 2005. Under Arnold's direction, the foundation board has donated to the College of Education directing funds toward the endowed scholarship programs and other projects within the college along with other entities dedicated to education. Shonrock, senior vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Texas Tech, has dedicated his professional career to the improvement of higher education for all university students, including those at Texas Tech. He holds degrees from Western Illinois University, Pittsburg State University and University of Kansas, all in the areas of college personnel and higher education administration. Since 1990, he has served as an administrator and faculty member at Texas Tech. In his current position his responsibilities are varied and far reaching, and most of the 27 departments under his watch are directly related to the students he serves. Previously he served as Texas Tech's dean of students and as director of Student Life at PSU.  Find Texas Tech news, experts and story ideas at CONTACT: Karen Jacobsen, director of public relations, College of Education, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-1998 ext. 455, or