On Tuesday, Feb. 8 State Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, also an associate professor of education at Indiana University Northwest, received the Welsh-Bowen Distinguished Public Official Award in recognition of his outstanding service and dedication to his constituents in northwest Indiana.
The award was presented by Indiana University President Adam W. Herbert during the annual Hoosiers for Higher Education reception held in Indianapolis at the Indiana Convention Center.
The reception followed a day of visits to the Statehouse by a group of more than 40 students, faculty, staff and administrators from IU Northwest. During this annual event, groups from all of IUís eight campuses have the opportunity to attend legislative sessions and to meet with their local legislators to discuss issues involving higher education.
The Welsh-Bowen award is presented every year to two outstanding representatives who demonstrate a commitment to furthering higher education through laws and initiatives that they support while in session, as well as in their communities.
Smith, a former Gary City Council member, was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1990. He serves on a number of committees including the Education committee and the Family, Children and Human Affairs committee. He is an active member of the IU Alumni Association and was selected as IU Northwest's Distinguished Educator. He holds three degrees from IU, including a doctorate in education.