PROUST: Wells Ellenberg

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PROUST: Wells Ellenberg

Family: Son of Brenda and John; Grandson of Gigi and Mr. A; Brother of Jack, Coleman, Matt and Will; Proud uncle of Briar, Britton, Natalie, Banks, Caroline, Evelyn Grace and Sydney

Hometown: Saint Simons Island, Georgia

Current Town: Washington, DC

What Years at UGA: 2009-2013

School/Degree: School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and Morehead Honors College/A.B. Political Science

Profession: Government Relations, Energy Sector


UGA SPIA Board of Visitors; UGA Alumni Association “40 Under 40”; Sigma Nu Fraternity “Man of the Year”; I captained two state championship golf teams at Frederica Academy, but my score didn’t count in either!

What life lessons did you learn while at UGA?

I wouldn’t trade my four years in Athens for a Yale Law degree. I said that to a Yale-educated lawyer once, and he didn’t appreciate it. My Sigma Nu brothers keep me from taking myself too seriously. The lasting friendships I made at UGA taught me the value of real relationships – it’s about quality, not quantity. Plus the importance of work-life balance – life’s too short not to invest in the people and experiences that matter most.

What professor did you most admire?

Dr. Charles Bullock is one of our nation’s foremost experts on southern and legislative politics. I was fortunate to have him as a professor, and I’m even more fortunate to have kept in touch with him since I graduated. His class was as engaging as it was challenging, and I still find his insights incredibly valuable as I (attempt to) navigate the crazy world of politics.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I hope I haven’t achieved it yet. But being named one of UGA’s “40 Under 40” before I was 30 was especially meaningful, both because I was being recognized by my alma mater and also because I was being recognized for giving back to my community, alongside my professional accomplishments.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I had the opportunity to meet President George H.W. Bush at the 2001 Walker Cup. In addition to being one of the most accomplished individuals to ever hold our nation’s highest office, President Bush is remembered for his kindness, sense of humor and love of golf, all of which were on display that day. We need more public servants like him.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My late grandfather, Gene Anglin, a decorated World War II veteran and accomplished engineer (despite attending the North Avenue Trade School); and my late father, John Ellenberg, a beloved physician who brought literally thousands of lives into this world. They helped set the example for me as a person, professional and hopefully future husband and father. I miss them every day and hope I can make them proud.

Quote to live by:

“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots. You get good breaks from bad shots. You have to play the ball where it lies.” – Bobby Jones

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I’m happiest on or near the water with a golf club, a fly rod and/or a cold drink in my hand. The late, great Jimmy Buffett summed it up well with the title of his greatest-hits album: Boats, Beaches, Bars and Ballads.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I hope it’s being a true and loyal friend and treating others with kindness.

What do you most value in your friends?

My dad encouraged me to surround myself with friends whose company I enjoy but also whom I admire – that make me want to be a better version of myself simply by being around them.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to be a few inches taller and a much better golfer!

Who are your favorite writers?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Jimmy Buffett since his recent passing. He was as much a storyteller as he was a musician, and no matter the circumstances, his lyrics have the power to transport you to a better place. I’m lucky to have met him and to have attended about a dozen of his shows, including one last year in Austin, Texas. I’m also a big fan of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway wrote what he meant, and he meant what he wrote. In a profession that too often deals in nuance and nonsense, I find his simplicity and straightforwardness refreshing.

Fave social media and who to follow?

I spend way too much time on social media, especially Instagram. I’m a rabid follower of anything UGA related and especially enjoy Kirby’s “Go Dawgs!” tweets whenever we land another top-notch recruit.

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