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Michael Leech Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

Leech, a resident of Astoria, N.Y., was honored April 15.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 5-12-2016

Mankato, Minn. – Michael D. Leech (pictured) of Astoria, N.Y, recently received the 2016 Distinguished Young Alumni Award from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Leech, who interned in the mailroom of the “Late Show with David Letterman” before working his way up to become a full-time writer for the show, is one of eight 2016 alumni award winners. He was honored at an April 15 ceremony hosted by the Minnesota State Mankato Alumni Association. A YouTube video about Leech’s accomplishments is available online.

Distinguished Young Alumni Awards go to graduates 35 years old or younger who have reached professional achievements early in their careers, and have positively impacted their communities.
Leech earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2008 from Minnesota State Mankato. Since graduating, he worked for KEYC TV in Mankato and also produced, directed and starred in several commercials for the Maverick 4 Theatre.

Leech later filmed, edited, co-wrote, and co-directed “The Tony Mendez Show,” a comedy series on He welcomed and personally attended to celebrity guests of “Late Show with David Letterman,” coordinated video shoots on New York City streets, wrote and held cue cards, and judged the famous “Top Ten List” online contest.

Leech was eventually promoted to writers’ assistant and then full-time writer for the show. Leech has also held cue cards at “Saturday Night Live,” “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” “Project Runway,” and “Ink Master,” and he was the winner of the “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” “Make Your Own Commercial Contest,” out of 400 entries worldwide.

Those who want more information about the April 15 awards event may go to or call (507) 389-3235.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,193 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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