Jacob Wellman is no stranger to responsibility and teamwork. At 22, and still a year away from graduating, he has been the president of his fraternity, held multiple positions at the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico (ASUNM) and currently serves as a UNM Student Regent.

In recognition of his achievements, Wellman was one of only three men in the nation chosen to receive the North-American Interfraternity Conference Undergraduate Award of Distinction. The award recognizes fraternity men who have used the undergraduate fraternity experience to develop as a leader and as a man.

"I've learned how valuable friends and mentors are and I now understand the benefits to pursuing knowledge," Wellman said.

Wellman joined Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) because he admired the fraternity's belief that political, religious and philosophical differences have little effect on a group's ability to better the world.

In addition, Wellman was challenged with the unique experience of re-chartering a chapter of ATO at UNM. The ATO charter was pulled in 1985 after the chapter was no longer able to maintain the high standards set by the ATO national headquarters.

Wellman said he saw the opportunity to re-charter ATO as a way to bring more diversity to UNM, Greek Life and a group of young men. "I am already seeing the positive difference it has made within Greek Life, on campus and in our members' lives."

"Jake is an incredible leader and mentor," said Skip Brown, ATO Alumni Chapter Advisor.

Wellman said the chartering ceremony this past March is his favorite fraternity memory.

"To see our chapter alumni crying tears of joy that their fraternity had returned to UNM was a very moving moment," he said. "The day culminated years of hard work and struggles that I was able to experience and enjoy with my brothers and friends."

At the ceremony, the members were finally able to see their fraternity's ritual and be proclaimed an official chapter of Alpha Tau Omega.

After graduation, Wellman plans to attend law school and work in public service with the intention of one day serving in politics.

Story by Evann Kleinschmidt