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2015 Distinguished Alumni Award for Service —Tom Wyrsch

Tom Wyrsch and President Ambrose

Tom Wyrsch, left, receives the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award for Service from UCM President Chuck Ambrose.

Watch this video, produced by UCM alumnus John Kennedy, honoring Tom Wyrsch. It aired at the Distinguished Dinner.

The 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for Service is Tom Wyrsch, a Kansas City resident who earned a bachelor's degree in political science from UCM in 1978 and is current director of contract compliance for Jackson County, Mo. He will be honored during the annual Distinguished Alumni Dinner Oct. 23 as part of the week's Homecoming festivities.

An active and loyal supporter of UCM, Wyrsch has been a member of the UCM Alumni Board of Directors, including serving in leadership posts as president and executive committee member. The Tom Wyrschlongtime Kansas City resident has been involved in government and politics for more than four decades. Since his graduation from UCM, he has worked on the state and national levels for many congressional staffs and is currently chair of the Jackson County Democratic Committee. He has served as the county's director of contract compliance for eight years.

Wyrsch also is active in his community and has been involved in many Kansas City competitions, celebrations and sporting events. In addition to raising funds for groups such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association, over the past 34 years he has been involved with the Kansas City St. Patrick's Day Parade, including serving as grand marshal in 2001. Additionally, he has been a judge of the Great Lenexa BBQ Contest, was logistics chair for the American Royal Parade, and helped with the Kansas City Zoo's Jazzoo Festival. One of eight children, he is passionate about his family's heritage and values his work with the Irish community, efforts in which he takes great pride.

In discussing his UCM experiences, Wyrsch values the lifelong friendships he made, particularly through his involvement with Delta Upsilon fraternity. He credits UCM for the disciplines and lessons taught by great professors that carried him through his career.

"My involvement in SGA (Student Government Association), theatre and other activities was invaluable," he added. "Sometimes you don't realize it at the time, but, later, you realize it when something comes up, and you understand that you learned it or were first exposed to it through your classes."