Jack Williams IV stands out from other students at UCI, not only because of his thick Georgia accent, but because of how much he has accomplished at only 26 years old.
Williams is a former United States Marine who now lives in San Juan Capistrano and attends the Univeristy of California, Irvine. But Williams is more than just a local veteran. He has dedicated his life to strengthening veteran advocacy across Orange County.
Williams is on the UCI Student Fee Advisory Committee, he is the founder of UCI's Alpha Psi Omega Professional Veteran Fraternity and is one of two veteran liaisons to the ASUCI president. He has been nominated to join the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa, was granted the UCI Chancellor's Award for Distinction and UC Irvine Veteran Services recently awarded him with Veteran Student of the Year.
Despite his many roles as a veteran at UCI, Williams maintains a 4.0 grade point average, will graduate this June with a history degree emphasizing the Middle-East and plans to attend UCI Law School in fall.
"Typically college students have trouble with procrastination, but not Jack," said Vikram Nayudu, president of ASUCI, who has worked closely with Williams and believes that his maturity and dedication are far beyond his years.
Like a true Marine, "he always completes assignments on time, shows up 10 minutes early for meetings and does impecible work," Nayudu said. "He has a passion for success and is going to go very far in life."
Alex Louie is also a veteran who attends UCI and has worked with Williams on ASUCI and as the co-founder of UCI's Alpha Psi Omega Professional Veteran Fraternity. He believes that Williams posseses a strong work ethic and a postive attitude through all situations.
"As for our working relationship I could not have had a better person by my side," Louie said. "He also has the uncanny ability to keep issues light and funny by not taking minor things seriously."
Williams enlisted in the Marines at age 19, because he wanted an experience that would mature him.
"I wasn’t being the type of man that I wanted to be, and I thought that I needed a drastic change," Williams said.
So, he attended boot camp at Camp Parris Island, S.C. and was then sent to advanced infantry training at Camp Pendleton in San Diego. He remained at Camp Pendleton and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion 1st Marine regiment. Williams spent all of 2007 on a deployment in the Pacific, working on foreign relations with United States allies: Japan, Korea, Phillipines and Australia. In 2009, he was deployed to Iraq for eight months.
Upon his return home from Iraq, Williams moved to San Juan Capistrano until his release from the Marines in January of 2010 and has remained there since.
"I love the rural type of environment in San Juan Capistrano," Williams said. "It's honestly the only palce in Orange County I could see myself living."
After he exited the service in 2010, enrolled at Saddleback College and then transferred to UCI in winter of 2011.
Williams next step will be attending law school at UCI Law.
"I plan on becoming an attorney. I would like to get into finance, business and real estate and I’d like to do corporate law contract negotions," Williams said.
Paul Lee, student assistant at the UC Irvine Veteran Services office, believes that while the Marines may have given Jack a push in the right direction, his own brains and wit have brought him to where he is today.
"Jack is just a really great guy to be around," Lee said. "Anytime he talks in the office, people turn their heads to listen."
DISCLOSURE: Carrie Dilluvio is a volunteer at UCI Veteran Services.