Each year, the UTHealth President’s Awards for Leadership are awarded to recognize exceptional leaders from across the institution. The honorees were scheduled to receive their awards at the annual STAR Awards luncheon originally set for March. However, due to the pandemic, the event was initially postponed and then, inevitably, cancelled.
On Oct. 30, William Adcox, chief of police for The University of Texas Police at Houston, proudly presented Officer Manuel Leston with the award bestowed on him by UTHealth during a small, socially-distanced award presentation.
"I know you come to work everyday and your heart and soul is in the job," said Adcox. "You're a servant leader and you do the best you can in everything you do."
Recipients were selected for each of three categories - classified staff, management/administrative and professional, and faculty - and embody certain qualities of leadership like, the consistent demonstration of leadership through service, compassion, and ethical standards. Leston was selected for the Outstanding Classified Staff category. Leston received a plaque commemorating the honor, a gift bag from UTHealth and received a cash prize.
"I've come to find out that one of the most important skills a leader can have is listening because it strengthens the relationships with your teams," said Leston. "It's an art and it helps us to connect in our conversations with others, it cultivates engagement."
During the award presentation, Leston thanked his colleagues, supervisors and peers because they empower him to provide this service to the community.
Each year, UTHealth accepts nominations for people who have shown exceptional leadership skills through the years.
UT Police nominated Leston for his excellent communication skills, his ability to form relationships with campus leaders and campus community members alike, his enthusiasm for the work he does at UTHealth, and for his commitment to the professional development of others.
His nomination included testimonials from people who have attended Leston's classes and those who described his outstanding leadership qualities. Earlier this year, Leston also was recognized as the MD Anderson Educator of the Year.