The Words of the Leal Family

Bento Leal receives UTS Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement award

November 23, 2012

This award is given to alumni whose achievements in their profession, career or vocational pursuits and service to society bring honor and distinction to UTS.

The award gives the UTS Alumni the opportunity to recognize alumni who are working diligently, often behind the scenes, and not necessarily in prominent leadership positions; they have been steadfast in their dedication to serve others, they have broken new ground and trail-blazed new paths for fellow alumni to follow.

The nominations took place at the Alumni Weekend at Barrytown in May. Table by table, alumni and gathered friends were asked to nominate an alumnus or alumna. Bento was nominated for his work in the "building relationship" and marriage enrichment fields. His nomination was greeted with great warmth by the alumni gathered in the Barrytown Dining Room. The awards selection committee considered Bento Leal's nomination an inspired choice, and have awarded him the 2012 UTS Alumni award.

Previous awardees include such great alumni/ae as:

Lee Shapiro
Richard Panzer
Marilyn Morris
Henry Christopher
Anthony Ferrantello
Mike Yakawich
Stephen Stacey
Ginger Nichols

Here is Bento's response:

Dear UTS Alumni,

I am both surprised and honored to receive the UTS Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement.

For the past several years, I have been teaching communication skills classes and facilitator trainings for couples and singles throughout the state of California to strengthen their marriages and families. I work as a full-time staff member with a statewide non-sectarian, non-profit organization to do so. Together, we have taught thousands of couples and singles these powerful life- and relationship-transforming skills.

I have also been privileged to teach two facilitator trainings at UTS in recent years -- at Barrytown in April 2009 and in NYC in January 2011 -- training and certifying UTS students and others to teach these skills wherever they go.

Locally, I have taught several classes for our Unification Church communities here in California. As with any faith tradition, couples aspire to high ideals but often don't know how to communicate well within their own relationship. Learning and practicing proven communication skills helps them listen to each other with greater empathy and express themselves more effectively, thereby producing dialogues that bring greater understanding of each other and closeness. This is really "living for the sake of others" on a very personal and real level. Faith (vertical) coupled with skills (horizontal) is a powerful internal and external combo for true marital success. "Let your light so shine…"

All the above experiences and accomplishments stem from the roots I gained at UTS with my fellow students, professors, and especially the meaningful, intimate times with our founders, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. Those early days lit my fire and have motivated me ever since. There is still much to do, and I'm eager to keep pushing forward serving and supporting couples as they build Godly marriages and families.

God bless UTS! And thank you again for bestowing on me this very special honor.

Bento Leal
Class of 1977 

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