PURPOSE: To enhance college effectiveness and performance through organizational, academic and student system improvements. Leslie has successfully implemented cohesive, operational and strategic systems improvements by developing creative and accountable organizational cultures, by engaging all stakeholders and emphasizing leadership development for all members of the organization, especially the board of trustees, resulting in dramatic, nationally recognized performance outcomes at each institution he has led.
Dr. Bruce Leslie, Navy veteran and Chancellor Emeritus of The Alamo Colleges District, retired October 1, 2018, concluding a 42-year career as a senior executive in community college systems. As Chancellor of the Alamo Colleges District, he led five individually accredited colleges of various sizes, 5 regional centers, a $1 billion budget, 6,000 employees and a student enrollment of over 65,000 credit and another 25,000 continuing education/ distance learning and workforce students each semester. As a result of his leadership, the Alamo Colleges District has received numerous state and national awards, most noteworthy, the 2018 National Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award for Performance Excellence; the only higher education, multi-college system to ever receive this Presidential level award. Concurrently, The Aspen Institute named Alamo Colleges-Palo Alto College among the top ten community colleges in the nation with the Rising Star Award, and NICHE recognized Alamo Colleges-Northwest Vista College as best in Texas, 6th in the nation. The District also received several Texas Star Awards; a record four National Bellwether Awards, several sustainability and state and national operational and fiscal performance awards, including four Texas Awards for Performance Excellence, and recognition as a National Achieving the Dream Leader College. As a further result of Leslie’s leadership, the Alamo Colleges District was awarded the 2020 Leah Meyer Austin Award, Achieving the Dream’s highest honor. Recently, The Aspen Institute awarded Alamo Colleges – San Antonio College, as the recipient of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence; acknowledging SAC as the best community college in the nation. The Alamo Colleges District is the only community college system to have more than one of its colleges recognized. A significant outcome of these achievements has been two gifts by McKenzie Scott of $20 million to Palo Alto and $15 million to San Antonio College respectively.
Dr. Leslie has served community colleges of all sizes, becoming President of Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, NY in 1984. In 1996, he became Chancellor of the Connecticut Community College System, leading twelve individually accredited colleges, and then Chancellor of Houston Community College District, leading six colleges (the sixth established during his administration), until he was recruited to The Alamo Colleges District in 2006 where he established the system’s fifth college, Northeast Lakeview College, established 16 early college high schools and several innovative technology academies and most noteworthy, increased graduation rates by 244 per cent, achieving the highest degree rate in Texas, among the highest in the nation, while also reducing costs, and generating greater revenues. The District is one of only several college systems nationally earning AAA ratings from both Moody and Standard and Poor.
Leslie earned his bachelor’s degree from Baldwin-Wallace University in Ohio, master’s degree from Sam Houston University in Texas, and Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Leslie, his wife Cheryl, and their three children each attended community colleges.
Leslie has been active in each community, serving on the Boards of the area chambers of commerce, manufacturing associations, youth and adult leadership programs, United Way, Salvation Army, bioscience and entrepreneurship organizations and various jobs councils. His international experience is extensive. Most recently, Leslie collaborated with the Mayor of San Antonio and County Judge to establish SAWorks, to increase skills talent in Central Texas. Leslie served on the national board of the American Association of Community Colleges, the Association of Talent Development as Treasurer, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning as treasurer and as past president of RC-2020, an international organization of urban community college CEO’s.
Dr. Leslie’s many recognitions include the inaugural FranklinCovey “Trim Tab” Leadership Award; the National Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award; Association of Community College Trustees Eastern Region and Western Region Chief Executive Awards and Charles Kennedy Equity Award; the San Antonio Business Journal C-Suite Award, the Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Award, the AARP Pinnacle Award for Service to Hurricane Katrina Evacuees, the Houston Hispanic Forum Leadership Award, the African Americans in Higher Education in Connecticut Association President’s Award, and the Diversity Leadership Award from the Syracuse Center for the Healing of Racism. Leslie was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin in 1990.
Leslie’s skills include board development and board/CEO relations, partnership development, workshop facilitation, the Malcolm Baldrige Quality program, FranklinCovey resources, especially The Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX), employee leadership development, collective bargaining, strategic planning and international development.
Leslie currently teaches for Fielding Graduate University and Kansas State University and serves as Treasurer for the Rocky Mountain Performance Excellence Board, the regional Baldrige organization, having previously served as a Director on the Quality Texas Foundation.
Leslie and his wife, Cheryl, are the parents of three children and eight grandchildren and both are actively engaged in community service, music, hiking, pickleball skiing, fly fishing and bicycling.