Statement as issued Thursday by the university
VINCENNES, Ind. – Vincennes University will present an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service to Indiana State Senator Tom Wyss during VU’s 208th Commencement Exercises on May 3 at the Physical Education Complex. The Senator will join VU President Dick Helton in addressing VU graduates.
Wyss has represented Fort Wayne since his election in 1985. He represents Senate District 15, which includes portions of Allen County.
In addition to his service in the State Senate, Wyss served in the Indiana Air National Guard from 1966 to 1997, retiring as a lieutenant colonel and public information officer. He was elected to the Allen County Council in 1976.
In the General Assembly Wyss is chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Transportation, and Veteran Affairs and also serves as the ranking member of the Senate Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee. He is also a member of the Senate Appropriations and Local Government committees.
Beyond his leadership roles in the Senate, he is co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Homeland Security and Preparedness Task Force and vice-chair of the NCSL Law and Criminal Justice Committee.
He serves as a member of the U.S. Department of Justice’s GLOBAL Advisory Committee and Intelligence Working Group and also worked with the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security as a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Preparedness Task Force and the Advisory Committee for the Homeland Security Advisory Council. He is also a member of the National Homeland Security Consortium and the Indiana Counter-Terrorism and Security Council. Additionally, he is a founding member of the Fort Wayne Crime Stoppers Advisory Board and a board member of the Northeast Indiana Burn Center and Hoosier Burn Camp.
Wyss has been recognized multiple times for his legislative efforts. He has received several honors for his legislation to combat drunk driving, including the National Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Award and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Award for Public Service.
He recently received the Legislator of the Year award from the Disabled American Veterans, the Distinguished Public Service award from the Indiana American Legion, and the Lifetime Service Award from the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police. In 2013 he was recognized with the Charles Dick Award from the National Guard Association of the United States, which is presented to federal and state legislators and governors.
Wyss is the only person to receive that award twice.
Professionally, Wyss worked at General Electric for 39 years. He graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne with an associate degree in industrial management. He lives in Fort Wayne and attends St.Vincent’s Catholic Church. He and his late wife Shirley were married in 1965, and he has two daughters and five grandchildren.