Lee and six other award recipients were selected from 25 nominees. Dr. Guy Denton, CEU-SJC vice-provost, nominated Lee for the award.
The award cites Lee’s lifetime efforts to bring higher education to “rural, disadvantaged minorities in San Juan County.” It lists his success in grant writing, community leadership, and the establishment of CEU-San Juan Campus as key elements in his selection for the award.
The award statement noted Lee’s success in developing a wide array of college programs, and acquiring and implementing a $6 million endowment fund that provides a perpetual source of financial aid for “needy and deserving students” in San Juan County.
The San Juan Endowment has grown to over $15 million and has funded hundreds of San Juan County college students.
Lee, who is officially retired, continues to work at the college several hours each day.
The Suazo Award is named after the late Senator Pete Suazo and is presented to those who “ have shown initiative and leadership in furthering the cause of social and economic justice for all people.”
Silvia Stubbs, another CEU-SJC employee, received the 2005 Suazo Award for program development at the college.
Lee receives his award March 14 at the University of Utah.