UPSTATE — Tommy Preston, Jr., director of National Strategy and Engagement and Government Operations at Boeing South Carolina, will deliver Tri-County Technical College’s spring commencement address. The ceremony will be held Monday, May 7, at 6 p.m. at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Graduates will be awarded degrees, diplomas, and/or certificates during the College’s commencement. In addition to families and guests of the graduates, alumni and other friends of the College are invited to attend the ceremony.
As director of National Strategy and Engagement and Government Operations, Preston focuses on regulatory, public policy, grassroots strategy and community engagement. Before Boeing, he practiced law where he represented companies and organizations, including Boeing, on economic development, public policy and regulatory matters. He also was the chair of the firm’s diversity initiative.
A native South Carolinian from Pickens County, Preston graduated cum laude with a degree in political science from the University of South Carolina and earned his juris doctorate from the University of South Carolina (USC) School of Law. As an undergraduate student, he was a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar and served as student body president. Preston is the recipient of the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, the highest honor awarded to a USC student.
A voice for improving education in South Carolina, he was selected by The State newspaper as one of the 20 Under 40 Leaders in the community and received the Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional of the Year Award. He is the founder of Cocky’s Reading Express (CRE), a statewide initiative dedicated to improving illiteracy.
The program has provided more than 130,000 books to children in South Carolina. In 2014, the White House asked Preston to assist with the launch of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, a program to support the growth and success of young men of color. He also recently joined the Advisory Board for Teach for America South Carolina, an organization dedicated to strengthening the Nation’s movement for educational equity and excellence.
In addition to his work on education and youth issues, Preston is a national leader on issues related to preserving our nation’s judicial system and protecting citizens’ access to justice. He serves on numerous committees in the American Bar Association (ABA) and National Center for State Courts. He is active in the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division and will become the national chair of the group in August. He also is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
He remains active at his alma mater. He is the current president of the University of South Carolina Alumni Association. He is the youngest and first person of color in the University’s history to serve in this position. He also represents alumni on the University’s Board of Trustees.
Preston and his wife, Felicia, have two children, Charlotte and Benjamin.