Leslie A. Bostic, Ph.D.
As the Founding Executive Director of The Buckeye Ranch (formerly Buckeye Boys Ranch) for 40 consecutive years, Leslie A. Bostic, Ph.D. has dedicated his adult life to aiding troubled children and families. Les was one of six children from a working class family, born and reared in a farming and textile community in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. He enjoyed many farm and agriculture work experiences as a child and teenager. He entered college on an athletic scholarship. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master of Social Work Degree from the Richmond Professional Institute of the College of William and Mary, as well as a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University.
He is a former prison guard, probation officer and clinical social worker. Les is the father of two children, Lisa of Washington, DC and Jeff of Seattle. He has three granddaughters, McKenzie, Jenna, and Lilly. Les was widowed in 1998, after 38 years of marriage. Since losing his wife to cancer, Les has spent hours visiting and supporting local citizens, neighbors, colleagues and friends who are experiencing chronic or terminal illnesses, loneliness and other hardships. He is consistently sought out as a mentor and all who know him regard him as a visionary, a business peer and outstanding citizen.
Starting with a dream, Les created a model residential campus with a nationally respected program for the care and treatment of emotionally, behaviorally, and mentally disturbed children and adolescents. Following his retirement in 2000, Les has formed Making Connections, a non-profit corporation to continue opening doors of opportunity for disadvantaged children with severe dental, facial, or other disfigurements, resulting in a loss of confidence and self-pride. During this period, in 2003, Les was the recipient of the YMCA Future of America Mary Jo Luck Youth Advocacy Award.
It is no small measure of pride that the Ranch has been able to raise private funds to build a truly outstanding campus and increased the landmass from 75 acres to approximately 100 acres without creating debt or obtaining a single line of credit. During the latter stage of his leadership, Les raised over $4,000,000 to fully fund the construction of the Hughes Family Life Center, the Kroger Equestrian Therapy Center, and the Mary Dunn Administration Center. In a major restructuring of the Ranch, in 1997, Les was appointed President and CEO of both a new Holding Company and The Buckeye Ranch Foundation, where he assumed a leading role in establishing Board of Directors for the Foundation, consisting of forty or more members.
Les as assumed a leadership role in the central Ohio community and has received numerous recognitions for his exemplary service to society. In the mid-60s, he was recognized as the Outstanding Young Man of the Year by the Grove City Jaycees. He is a past Director and Fellow of the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers and past president of both the Athletic Club of Columbus and The Columbus Touchdown Club. In the late 1970s, Les was recognized for his role as chairman of the Advisory Board which led to the start-up and early development of Marburn Academy, a highly reputable resource for children with learning disabilities. In the early 80s, Les was elected President of Mount Carmel’s Health Horizon Board which was responsible for building two Physicians Office Buildings on the campus of Mount Carmel Hospital East. In Grove City, he served on the Grove City Planning Commission and other citizenry committees through the years including the Grove City Sertoma Club and Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce.
Les served as General Chairman of the Ernie Godfrey Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, honoring J. Edward Weaver, Retired Director of Athletics, with “The Mr. Ohio Gold Award,” held at the Ohio Union, April 27, 1989. Jimmy Crum, Sports Director, WCMH-TV, serves as Master of Ceremonies, featuring New York Yankees owner, George Steinbrenner, as distinguished speaker.
He was recognized as the 1991 Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year in Columbus and Central Ohio. In 1992, he received the Virginia Axline Award as an outstanding mental health professional. Doctors Hospital honored him with their Golden Achievement Award in health care in 1993. He served as Director of State Savings Bank for 25 years and as a member of The Ohio State University Student Loan Foundation, serving as President in 1998.
In 1994, he was honored as the Champion of Children by the Columbus Montessori Education Center and by the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce as the recipient of their first annual Distinguished Service Award. In 1995, Les was recognized as a finalist for The Small Business Person of the Year in central Ohio. In 1997, Les was honored with the Columbus Foundation Award. This award recognized outstanding vision and achievement and is presented annually to individuals that have made a significant difference in the quality of life in their community. Les was twice the recipient of the Governor’s Award to Ohioans. First in 1974, he was honored with the award by Governor John Gilligan and in 1998 Governor Voinovich presented Les with the award. This award is the highest honor that the Governor of Ohio can confer upon any individual or group.
Les was also the 1998 recipient of The Ohio State University’s Public Service Award, presented by the Criminal Justice Research Center. In 2000, Les was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and received the 2001 Award for Outstanding Community Service to Columbus and Franklin County, presented by the Alcohol Drug Abuse and Mental Health System. He served on the Access Health Coalition by the Columbus Medical Foundation Board and co-chaired the Leave a Legacy Program for the Columbus and central Ohio area. He was appointed to commissions on juvenile justice and law enforcement by Governor James Rhodes.
Les served as Chairman of the Southwest Public Library System’s 2002 community effort to pass an operating tax levy. In 2002, Dr. Les Bostic was appointed by Bishop James Griffin to the Catholic Diocese Board of Review for the Protection of Children and was re-elected to a new four year term in 2009. From 2004 through 2006, Les served as the Grove City Administrator.
In addition to his service with the Grove City Community, Les spearheaded a movement with Columbus Public Schools and the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board to establish the Linden-McKinley Intensive Day School Program which was recognized as one of “Ohio’s Best Practices” for 1996 by the Ohio Education Improvement Consortium, Inc. In 1997, he engineered the acquisition of Square One for Youth which increased the number of children served by the Ranch on a daily basis from 200 to 400 and added over 100 foster treatment homes to the comprehensive care system of the Ranch.
Les served on a commission, appointed by Dr. Michael Hogan, to study and recommend to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly, ways to improve conditions and services to Ohioans suffering from severe mental and emotional disturbances.