A champion of tenants’ rights, attorney Dean Preston, a member of the Class of 1991, has defended a population of people most at risk for eviction, displacement and even homelessness.
For his dedication to a career of winning battles and making breakthroughs for low-income tenants, Preston has been chosen by the Bowdoin College Board of Trustees to receive a 2016 Common Good Award.
In 2008 Preston founded Tenants Together, a non-profit organization that promotes safe, decent and affordable housing for renters throughout California. Through education, organizing and advocacy, Tenants Together works to protect and advance the rights of California’s 16 million renters.
In his role as Executive Director, Preston advances the rights of tenants by advocating for rent control, eviction protections and other fair housing policies in the California State Legislature and in statewide and local ballot initiatives, by creating a network of resources for renters, and by training attorneys, counselors and organizers.
Previously Preston worked for seven years as a staff attorney at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic in San Francisco, where he defended low-income tenants against wrongful evictions, substandard housing conditions and displacement by conversion of rent-controlled housing.
An anthropology and economics major at Bowdoin, Preston was a Sarah and James Bowdoin Scholar, and graduated magna cum laude, before going on to the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, where he earned his J.D. in 1996.
Established in 1994 on the occasion of the Bowdoin College Bicentennial, the Common Good Award honors those alumni who have demonstrated an extraordinary, profound and sustained commitment to the common good, in the interest of society, with conspicuous disregard for personal gain in wealth or status.
Common Good Award recipients personify the idea of the common good as set forth by Bowdoin’s first president, Joseph McKeen. In his inaugural address on September 2, 1802, McKeen reminded his audience, “It ought always to be remembered that literary institutions are founded and endowed for the common good and not for the private advantage of those who resort to them for education. It is not that they may be able to pass through life in an easy and reputable manner, but that their mental powers may be cultivated and improved for the benefit of society.”
The Common Good Awards will be presented, along with other awards, Saturday, June 4, 2016, during Reunion Convocation.