Jackie Combs Nelson and Rock Nelson, whose courtship involved double dates with Alfred Friendly fellows she mentored at the Chicago Tribune, have agreed to provide an estate gift to the Alfred Friendly Foundation.
Their recent estate bequest of more than $130,000 will benefit the Foundation’s academic programming and further the advancement of journalism. Everyone in our organization would like to thank Jackie and Rock them and recognize them for their generosity.
Jackie’s support began 30 years ago when she mentored Fellows at the Tribune and let them stay at her home during their fellowships. In 1990, her future husband, Lowell “Rock” Nelson, entered the Friendly Fellow Family when they began dating. Yevgenia Albats, (a 1990 Fellow from Russia) and Siew Ying Leu (Class of ’91 from Singapore) participated in the courtship with double dates and dinner parties.
In 2016, with both of them having retired, they began traveling around the world visiting countries and seeing former Alfred Friendly fellows. The first of several world tours began in Europe and ended in south Asia. The second tour the following year took place in South America, bringing the total number of alumni they visited or contacted up to 35. They also visited former fellows in California and, over the New Year’s holiday, New York City.
Jackie in 2017 won the annual Ellen Soeteber Award for Mentorship and in 2018, Jackie joined the Alfred Friendly Advisory Board. Her contributions to our program, through that role and in her role as an international ambassador, continue at a whirlwind pace.