Leslie T. Preston '88

Leslie T. Preston

Citation for Leslie T. Preston, 2016 Common Good Award recipient.

"Leslie T. Preston of the Class of 1988, you have devoted your career to supporting and improving the mental health of a diverse and underserved population in the northern California counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano. You began your decades-long commitment to serving those in need before coming to Bowdoin, volunteering with people with disabilities as a high school student.

At Bowdoin, you studied mathematics and studio art, earning James Bowdoin Scholar honors, graduating magna cum laude, and exploring the possibility of a career in designing facilities for those with special needs. You soon learned that you wanted to work directly with underserved populations, however, and after earning your master’s degree in social work at Smith College, you spent time in Ecuador working on your Spanish language skills and immersing yourself in that country’s culture.

In 1999 you joined the staff of La Clínica de La Raza, a community health organization headquartered in Oakland, California, with thirty-two locations and more than 100,000 clients spread across three culturally diverse counties. You have been at La Clínica de La Raza ever since, providing treatment, counseling, and prevention services to thousands of adults, adolescents, children, and families dealing with mental illness, substance abuse, and other behavioral health issues. You currently serve as La Clínica de La Raza’s director of behavioral health.

A colleague referred to you as "a strong leader," willing to "roll up your sleeves" and serve your constituents directly, or to offer guidance to other providers, whichever is more helpful and appropriate in the situation. You have also been described as "sensitive to others" and someone who "values perseverance, honesty, and openness." Another said you are "fully immersed" in the community you serve and that you "live to make a difference in this way."

For your profound commitment to the behavioral health of the population you serve, and in recognition of the many lives you have touched and improved in your career caring for the needs of others, we proudly join your family, friends, classmates, and others in honoring you today for your service to the Common Good. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we present to you this 2016 Common Good Award."

June 4, 2016