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Tom and Edward Wellman with their dogs, Hoku, Kala and Mahina.

Successful businessman Tom Wellman, a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Shidler College of Business master of accounting alumnus, always wanted to make more of an impact, especially for students who identify as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

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Tom Wellman has a master of accounting degree from the Shidler College of Business.

“The last couple jobs that I have had, I have been very out and open with my employers and with the community,” said Wellman. “I always was clear about that because there would be younger people in the organization who were very closeted about their lives, and they often would feel like they said anything about their personal life, it would hurt their career chances. I wanted people to know that it doesn’t. Being able to acknowledge your spouse by having their picture on your desk, simple little things like that are important.”

His gift of $100,000 creates the Wellman Endowed Scholarship in Accountancy for students enrolled in Shidler’s master in accounting program, with a preference for students who identify as LGBTQ+. It is the second endowed scholarship with a preference for LGBTQ+ students at any UH campus and the first for UH Mānoa.

Wellman had been planning to make a major gift for some time, but after an anonymous donor endowed the Kruschel LGBTQ+ Endowed Scholarship at UH Hilo in 2022, he felt the time was right for a similar gift to Shidler.

“Kids from the LGBTQ community often are disadvantaged, often coming from families that don’t support them, financially or otherwise,” Wellman said. “This is a way to help acknowledge to the LGBTQ community and those kids that they’re OK. They’re good people.”

Career in Hawaiʻi

Wellman arrived in Honolulu with a one-way ticket and a music scholarship to Brigham Young University–Hawaiʻi, and transferred to BYU’s main campus in Utah to finish his accounting degree. After graduation, he married his college sweetheart, Donna, and the couple packed their suitcases and moved to Honolulu so Wellman could attend the UH Mānoa Shidler College of Business master of accounting program.

Wellman enjoyed a long, successful finance career, starting in Honolulu at Deloitte before joining Alexander & Baldwin (A&B). After moving over to Matson, Wellman returned to A&B as the company’s corporate controller and rose to vice president, treasurer and comptroller before becoming CFO and CEO at The Gas Co., later known as Hawaiʻi Gas. Wellman then returned to the continental U.S. because of Donna’s failing health, and she passed away in 2014.

He was offered a chance to return to Hawaiʻi as CFO of Island Energy Services for a few years following its purchase of the Chevron Hawaiʻi operations. By then, Wellman had remarried, this time to his best friend, Edward. The couple then settled in the Philadelphia area, where Wellman retired in 2020.

Wellman has been a strong supporter of the Shidler College of Business over the years. He and Edward have given for many years and are members of the Shidler Dean’s Circle and the School of Accountancy Director’s Circle. Wellman was inducted into the Shidler Hall of Honors in 1998, and served on Shidler’s School of Accountancy advisory board for nearly 30 years.

For more, see this UH Foundation story.

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