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July 2005 Issue

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Lee Retires After 35 Years, Thousands of Student Successes

Published July 2005

After 35 years and over 3,000 student success stories, Robert E. Lee, PhD, associate dean for academic and professional affairs and professor of medicinal chemistry, is retiring from the College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Lee is distinguished not only by his name (yes, he's distantly related), but also by his concern for the students whose careers he has nurtured.

Dr. Lee joined the College of Pharmacy in 1970 when it was a small unit on the West Campus. He played a major part in the creation of the two-year prepharmacy and three-year pharmacy curriculum and expansion of academic programs.

Appointed assistant dean for undergraduate programs in 1978, Dr. Lee was responsible for coordinating the college's admissions, academic performance, student affairs and honors, and curriculum committees.

Dr. Lee was appointed associate dean in 1989. In 1993 he took on more external affairs and the administration of college and university loans and scholarships. The current dean, Daniel Acosta, PhD, added more day-to-day college operations when he was appointed in 1996.

Dr. Lee has been responsible for pharmacy recruitment and admissions, a particularly stressful role because of the many highly qualified applicants, 600 in 2005, for fewer than 100 openings.

But Dr. Lee, who is also distinguished by his kindness (not to mention impeccable manners, equally impeccable suits and a perpetual, healthy tan) has a student-friendly approach that includes encouraging students who are not accepted, and counseling them how to do better on reapplication.

One of Dr. Lee's most recent and important jobs in the college was his leadership in increasing minority recruitment through the establishment of the College of Pharmacy Council on Diversity. The council now has its own recruiter, a minority pharmacist funded through a joint effort with the Kroger company, who has helped increase minority enrollment significantly. The college has reactivated its chapter of the Student National Pharmacists Association, the student branch of the primary professional association for minority pharmacists in the U.S.

Dr. Lee's concern for students has been rewarded frequently by their choosing him for the annual College of Pharmacy Faculty Excellence Award.

Dr. Lee was active in nearly every professional organization in the college. And just as important, he serves as the "college memory" to help new faculty mentors keep a sense of continuity in the organizations.

Born and raised near Akron, Ohio, Dr. Lee earned his bachelor of science degree from Ohio Northern University's Raabe College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences in 1963. Enrolling in Purdue University School of Pharmacy and Pharmacal Sciences, he earned his PhD in 1968. He did postdoctoral work at the University of Michigan.

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