During Homecoming, Lee University President Dr. Paul Conn named Forrest Preston the Honorary Alum of the Year.
“We are pleased to honor this man who has been a friend to Lee University for many years, in so many ways,” explained President Conn to the Homecoming crowd. “Forrest has supported our vision for Lee University, and walked with us so closely, he seems like an alumnus. That’s one of the reasons he was selected by the committee for this recognition.”
Mr. Preston, the founder and sole owner of Life Care Centers of America, started the healthcare company in 1970.
Mr. Preston, a Massachusetts native, moved to Cleveland in the late 1950s after attending Walla Walla College in Washington. Originally studying to be a physician, Mr. Preston quickly decided that the life of a doctor was not for him.
Mr. Preston ended up getting his education to be an X-ray technician and due to his time working in various hospitals, he realized there was a need for better public relations in the healthcare system. He first started a third-party public relations firm to handle PR for hospitals, but upon seeing conditions for residents in hospitals, realized there was a need for better long-term care.
In 1970, the first Life Care Center opened in Cleveland. The company quickly grew due to the emphasis on building relationships, according to Mr. Preston.
Today, Life Care is the largest privately-owned long-term care facility chain in the United States with facilities across 28 states. It is the third-largest long-term care chain in the nation.
In addition to being an executive, Mr. Preston makes an effort to mentor others and have impactful relationships.
He resides in Cleveland.
Because Mr. Preston was not able to attend Homecoming, the award will be presented to him at a later date.