For the First Time Since 2006, Inductees Chosen for Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame

Inductees include many familiar Royal Oak civic leaders as well as internationally recognized individuals in law, music and ministry

New inductees in the Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame will be recognized in September.
New inductees in the Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame will be recognized in September.

The 2014 class of inductees of distinguished alumni and educators has been selected to be added to the Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame

The first induction since 2006 (a year before Kimball and Dondero High Schools were combined into Royal Oak High School), will take place on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.

The original Hall of Fame was created in 1996 at Dondero High School to honor graduates of the building at 709 N. Washington. Dondero was the original Royal Oak High School until 1957 when two high schools were necessary for the growing community.  

The eight years between inductions, since the schools merged, brought many nominees from the community, particularly from many Kimball High School graduates.  

» Criteria for inductees can be found on the web site.

Inductees include many familiar Royal Oak civic leaders as well as internationally recognized individuals in law, music and ministry.  The 15 alumni and five faculty will join a notable list of past inductees including nationally noted graduates including Ordinary People author, Judith Guest, activist Tom Hayden, Eagles musician Glenn Frey, Car and Driver editor and publisher David E. Davis.

The Hall of Fame’s mission is to recognize all contributions that are embodied in the school’s motto:  “Enter here to learn, go forth to serve.”  Many of the current 56 alumni and ten faculty on the wall outside the auditorium have also served tirelessly in various voluntary aspects of their communities.

The Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame is dedicated to providing Graduates and Staff of all Royal Oak High Schools a way of showcasing their excellence in public service, business, education, entertainment, fine arts, athletics, science and technology, career or any other prominent area.

Inductees for the 2014 Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame include:


  • Richard Aginian, ’59, President of Observer & Eccentric Newspapers
  • Gary Briggs, ’77, School Board President, Royal Oak Schools; preserved historic murals; guided the merging of both high schools.
  • Shirley Culver-McClellan, ’42, Decorated community leader and volunteer; Michigan Association for Emotionally Disturbed Children; chair of Berkley Historical Committee and a founder of Berkley Historical Museum
  • James Ellison, ’70, longest serving mayor of Royal Oak (since 2003); 2002 Royal Oak Citizen of the Year; original chairman of Dream Cruise Event
  • Gerald Gilbert, ’51, Two-star admiral in U.S. Naval Reserves, Assistant U.S. attorney, international lawyer
  • George Grisdale, ’49, Educator, Oakland Schools pioneer in computer systems for Michigan schools.
  • Ani Kavafian, ’64, Concert violinist (New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Symphony Orchestera) who has performed at Carnegie Hall.
  • Michael Kenny, ’73, Antitrust attorney, lead lawyer at U.S. Supreme Court cases; funded scholarships at Oakland University and Georgia State University
  • Peter Kramer, ’52, Community Leader:  Royal Oak City Commissioner (1967-77), Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center (1970-77), Beaumont Hospital Authority (1974-2001)
  • Doris Leenhouts-Hunter,’47, Pioneer female minister; international lecturer
  • William Orosz, Jr. ’67, Founder of Cambridge Homes, nation’s sixth largest builder, developed 70 residential communities; MBA, Harvard Business School.
  • Edward Nahhat, ’79, Attorney, actor; founded the non-profit Water Works Theatre Company in 2001, presenter of Shakespeare in the Park; Producer of Mitch Albom’s Ernie; drama coach at Royal Oak High School.
  • Anne (Grimm) Scott, ’58, Community activist, first woman to chair the Boys & Girls Club; President of Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce; Oakland Community College Board member for 18 years, Royal Oak Citizen of the Year (1987).
  • James Sullivan, ’26, Operator of Sullivan Funeral Home, President Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce; President Kiwanis Club; guided establishment of William Beaumont Hospital.
  • Gary Vanek, ’58, Michigan State Legislator (1978-83), State Liquor Commissioner (1983-88), 17 year educator in Royal Oak Schools (Keller Junior High School and Kimball High School)


  • Rick Hartsoe, 40-year teacher of vocal music, Dondero High School.  Founder of the school’s famous Pop concert.
  • Ruth Hetzman, 36-year teacher of English, French and Latin at Royal Oak and Dondero High Schools, beginning in 1931; helped create Michigan Tenure Law passed for teachers; President of Michigan PTA
  • Charles Jones, 40-year math teacher, coach and athletic director at Kimball High School and Royal Oak Schools; inducted into Michigan Coaches Hall of Fame; Royal Oak High School’s gymnasium is named in his honor.
  • Michael McElroy, 34-year teacher  (27 years at Dondero High School); coach of swimming, football and track and field; over 100 All-League athletes during his career and 10 All-State athletes.
  • Larry Streeter, 36-year teacher (27 years at Dondero High School); Student Senate sponsor and recipient of the 1995 and 2003 Michigan Association of Student Councils Advisor of the Year Award; national speaker of Student activities; State Board of Student Councils.
The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2014 in the auditorium of Royal Oak High School with a reception following.  Honorees will also be recognized at the opening football game on Friday, Sept. 19.
Jennifer Ward June 10, 2014 at 09:43 AM
I thought Lorna Wildon would be on this list!!
K. Scott June 10, 2014 at 12:02 PM
She sound be.


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