Civic leader Helen Dutmer to receive honorary degree from Wayland

February 17, 2011

SAN ANTONIO – Longtime business leader and civic servant Helen Dutmer will receive an honorary doctorate degree from Wayland Baptist University – San Antonio in spring commencement services to be held Friday, Feb. 18 at Community Bible Church at 11 a.m.

The ceremony will include the awarding of diplomas at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels to almost 300 students and a graduation address by Dr. Paul Armes, the university’s 12th and current president.

Dutmer has worked with husband Jack at their company, Jack Dutmer Industrial Lubricants, for 42 years. She also worked as a secretary for 19 years at various attorney’s offices and was a cosmetologist for six years.

An active member of the San Antonio community, Dutmer served on the City Council (District 3) from May 1977 to August 1991, then served six years on the Bexar County Commissioners Court, representing Precinct 4. She retired from that role in 1997, having been the first woman to serve on the court in its 200-year history.

She was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985 and named Woman of the Year by the South Bexar Chamber of Commerce in 1975. Dutmer was also named Business Woman of the Year by the San Antonio Business and Professional Women group in 1981, also winning the honor at the district level. She was Texas Business Woman of the Year in 1982, and was honored with life membership to the 62nd Troop Carrier Squadron with the honorary rank of colonel.

Dutmer currently serves on Wayland-San Antonio’s Advisory Board, the Bexar County Board of Directors for Appraisal, the San Antonio Water Board’s Grievance Commission, Crime Stoppers, the San Antonio Council of Presidents and B&PW Local District.

In his recommendation for the honor, WBU Board member Tommy Lyons highly praised Dutmer’s work in the community.

“I have lived in San Antonio for 36 years, and I cannot recall any public servant who has championed more causes that appealed to and protected the city and county constituency,” said Lyons, who is Minister of Music and Worship at Northeast Baptist Church in San Antonio. “We need another generation like hers that develop common sense values and strong investments of commitment into the lives of others.”

Fellow advisory board member Brent Boller added his support for Dutmer.

“Name the qualities you’re looking for in a leader and Helen has them – all of them. She’s enthusiastic, creative, positive and forthright. Helen is also a master motivator,” Boller said. “But her sincerity and genuine affection for Wayland and the students are most notable for their influence on those who serve with her. Helen imparts wisdom, stimulates thought and calls for action. She’s a doer!”

Dutmer and her husband have a daughter, Lois Brackeen, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. They are active members of St. John’s Lutheran Church and St. Cecilia Catholic Church.