Family has always been important to Don and Frances Jones Giles ’65. After all, it was Don’s mother (Betsy Moore Giles ’36) who introduced them. “We met right here at the College,” Don said recently. “My mother was an alumna and was involved in freshman orientation.”
When Don, a Lynchburg native, was a sophomore at Virginia Military Institute (VMI), he came home for a fall weekend and was introduced to Frances, who was a first-year. The rest, as they say, is history. The couple has been married for 46 years.
The College has long been an integral part of the Giles family, who live in Lynchburg and have always been strong supporters. Frances, a trustee emeriti, served on the Board for 10 years beginning in 1991. Don began his tenure on the Board in 2006 and serves on the Enrollment and Student Affairs Committee.
“We’re best friends,” Frances said. “And we have always supported each other’s interests, which has been very meaningful to both of us. Don really got to know the College well when I was on the Board of Trustees. He was greatly impressed by the quality of the Board members and had the opportunity to learn much more about all aspects of the school.”
Both Don and Frances are often on campus, attending events and athletic competitions with their five grandchildren. “I feel strongly about the value of the education students receive at Randolph, and I also feel strongly about the value of athletics. It not only helps with school spirit, but it teaches many life lessons,” Don said.
Don’s time at VMI was life-changing, and he is appreciative of the lessons he learned there. “I was challenged as a cadet,” he said. “But the rewards were great. VMI taught you character and integrity as well as how to face life’s challenges.”
After graduation, Don spent two years in the Army before returning home to work for the family business, Moore & Giles, Inc. The company, which develops and designs luxurious natural leathers, was started by Don’s grandfather in 1933. Don began his career with Moore & Giles as a salesman in 1966. He was head of the company for more than 40 years and now serves as chairman of the board.
“I always knew this was where I was going to go,” Don said. “It was where I wanted to be.”
While Don’s work as chairman takes him all over the world, he remains dedicated to his hometown and to the College. His time on the Board has only deepened his respect for the College’s alumnae.
“I have tremendous respect for the R-MWC graduates on the Board,” Don said. “Their resolve is exceptional, and they always look forward. Being able to serve with these women is one of the things I’ve enjoyed the most. The amount they give of their time and talents is remarkable.”
For Don Giles, commitment to family and the liberal arts is fundamental
“I have tremendous respect for the R-MWC graduates on the Board. Being able to serve with these women is one of the things I’ve enjoyed the most. The amount they give of their time and talents is remarkable.”