Dr. Ollie Lee was awarded Lee University’s Department Alumnus of the Year Award for the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
“No one is more deserving of this award than Dr. Lee,” said Dr. Heather Quagliana, professor of psychology and acting chair of the department. “His legacy and influence is felt regularly in our department, and his commitment to pouring into faculty and students is far reaching. His kind, gentle guidance was extremely influential in even my own success at Lee.”
After graduating from Lee College in 1958 and earning his Doctor of Philosophy in sociology, Dr. Lee returned to his alma mater to teach in 1967. During his 49 years at the university, he served as chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, dean of the Division of Arts and Sciences, associate dean, and academic vice president. He was promoted to distinguished professor of sociology in 2002 and in 2016, was designated professor emeritus.
Dr. Lee not only had an impact on the sociology program, but on Lee University as a whole. Having joined the faculty during Lee’s transition period to a four-year liberal arts institution, he played a major role in accreditation of new programs and degrees, developing a mission statement and university goals, faculty evaluation and policies, and assessment procedures. Dr. Lee also held roles as chair of the Graduate Council, the General Education Core Task Force, and the committee that directed academic aspects of Lee’s transition.
“Dr. Ollie Lee is a man of principle and justice,” said Robin Tirey, secretary to the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences. “Throughout his long career, he has helped students achieve their academic goals and encouraged them to follow a life of service. Like many former students, I am a better person because of Dr. Lee.”
Dr. Lee has impacted the Cleveland community, as well. He has participated in the Cleveland Optimist Club, the Cleveland Helpline, the Kiwanis Club, and in many city and county citizens’ committees, and as a member of numerous sociology societies. Dr. Lee is also an active member at Westmore Church of God and with the Gideons International ministry. He and his late wife Glenna Sheppard have three sons and six grandchildren.
Dr. Lee spoke in the Lee University Chapel as part of a departmental reception during the university’s Homecoming earlier this month. The award was presented to him following his address. He was also honored during the Homecoming basketball games the following day, along with other alumnus award winners.