Leticia Van de Putte- Advocate of Culture & Community
Meet Leticia Van De Putte, esteemed Board Member on the San Antonio River Foundation’s (SARF) Board of Directors. With a long heritage rooted in our community, Leticia sees all San Antonians as a family and is devoted to their collective wellbeing through many charitable outlets. The Foundation’s mission of “Beautification. Education. Preservation.” parallels her enthusiastic attitude in sustaining our treasured cultural and natural resources in a constantly evolving city. The following interview was conducted when she was selected as Featured Board Member for February 2016.
[Leticia Van De Putte Speaking]
“Although I have only been on the Foundation since the last Fall and hold no formal positions on the Board, I'm thrilled to join a dynamic and committed group of individuals in this amazing mission for the San Antonio River Foundation. My grandfather Roy Aguilar pulled me out of the San Antonio River when I was about 5 years old during a family outing in Brackenridge Park. Even then I couldn't wait to jump in!
As a lifelong San Antonian, I've had the privilege to be on the Board locally of the United Way, the YWCA, the YMCA and chaired ICAN, the Interagency Child Abuse Network. On a national level, I’m Chair Emerita of the Milbank Memorial Fund, Reforming States Group and was Vice-Chair of the Legacy Board which oversees the over $1billion multi-state agreement from the tobacco settlement. I also sat for 6 years on NAGB (National Assessment Governing Board) which administers the educational Nation’s Report Card.
I'm a proud graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School and attended St.Mary’s University, San Antonio College, and the University of Houston and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas College of Pharmacy. I've been a practicing pharmacist for over 36 years. I was also a Kellogg Fellow at JFK School of Government at Harvard University.
While SARF has achieved many local, and regional accomplishments, I truly believe our greatest one is just within reach with the successful completion of Confluence Park. SARF brings a diverse group of individuals and communities together with a common purpose for the people who live, work and play along our treasure, the San Antonio River.
As a legislator for almost 25 years, a business owner and practicing pharmacist and juggling a large family with 6 children there is little time left for hobbies. But on rare occasions when we could get away, it was the rivers that always attracted me. Camping with our children at our state parks or white water rafting in upstate New York, Idaho and Wyoming always was a source a joy for me personally. Sometimes physically exhausting and consistently emotionally cleansing, the rivers of our state and our country have given me the gift of cherished family memories and much needed personal reflection.
As a 6th generation Texan and 3rd generation San Antonian, I have an immense pride in my hometown. I love the people of this community. I love that we host the largest march in the country honoring the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King. I love that our beloved Spurs can win 5 NBA Championships and we celebrate without destroying one thing downtown. I love that we can't wait for Rodeo and that we Fiesta all year long. But most all I love that we have a spirit of self reliance and that we respect and admire that “you pull yourself up from your bootstrap” mentality but we never forget when neighbor needs to help neighbor.
San Antonio is part Old South, part Rugged West, and part Hispanic but totally American. Our history and culture reflect that distinct combination. It's the river that flows through us, that's been our history and that's a key to our successful future. But we know our best days for our community and for the mission of SARF are ahead and I want to be part of that mission.”