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Age of Leadership

Wamego connecting his Washburn service to Prairie Band tribal citizens

Jacob Wamego

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019

Raising kids, working full time, taking college courses – any one of these tasks is enough to keep most people busy. But when Jacob “Tug” Wamego, bs ’07, attended Washburn University, he did all three at once. The father of three had a young family and worked the night shift at the Prairie Band Casino in Mayetta, Kansas, while earning his degree in criminal justice. As a nontraditional student who commuted to campus every day, Wamego believes the support of his professors was essential to his success.

“Schedule-wise, Washburn worked with me as a parent and as a person who had a job,” Wamego said. “The instructors were very understanding and supportive, and their doors were always open if I had questions or needed to talk.”

After getting his criminal justice degree, Wamego earned his law degree from the University of Kansas and an MBA from Friends University, and he now serves as president and CEO of Prairie Band, LLC, an economic development company wholly owned by the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. As a Prairie Band tribal citizen, Wamego has lived his whole life on the reservation, so he understands the needs of the community.

Having succeeded in a leadership role, he is now trying to give back and help the next generation of tribal citizens.

“I’m getting to the age and point in my career where I can do more service-oriented activities,” he said.

A growing part of this outreach includes becoming more involved with Washburn. Wamego serves on the Washburn Alumni Association board of directors, and he hopes to create avenues for the University to become more connected with Prairie Band, which is located about 15 minutes north of Topeka. According to Wamego, the tribe has invested a lot in grants for citizens to further their education at area schools like Washburn. He is also a board member at GO Topeka, an organization that focuses on attracting new business to Topeka and Shawnee County.

“A lot of people come to Washburn and they stay because it is a great community,” he said. “The amount of growth that’s happened just over the last couple of years is amazing. I’m happy to reconnect with Washburn and see good things happening with the campus and the University.”

The Ichabod Magazine Winter 2022 cover - Memorial Union with snow, pine needles in the foreground

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