Grant S. Lee, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at Colorado State University, passed away Oct. 11.
Lee was born in Jeonju, Korea, during the Japanese occupation. He chose to pursue an academic career in higher education earning a B.D. from the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea. Lee moved to the U.S. with the support of his wife Grace to create a better opportunity for his growing family. He received a B.A. from the University of Houston and thereafter brought his wife and two daughters to Princeton, New Jersey, following a separation of three and a half years. A son arrived soon after. Lee earned a Th.M. from Princeton Theological Seminary and then a doctorate of philosophy from Temple University in Philadelphia. Lee specialized in eastern religion and philosophy and was hired by Willard Eddy to teach in 1967.
Lee taught a broad range of philosophy subjects over the course of his 42 years at CSU, retiring in 2009. He was fluent in English, Korean, and Japanese with reading competence in four other languages. Lee was a member of and advisor to the Asian Studies Association along with numerous related international and minority status programs. He received the CSU Korean Alumni Association Distinguished Merit award for over 30 years of service and mentorship to Korean students at CSU. Although Lee served as a principal advisor to philosophy students, he is also well remembered by many non-majors and graduate students who found their way into his classroom and office. He was known to be an especially effective mentor; the Lee home was a welcoming site to international and local students alike. In 1980, he was a visiting professor of philosophy on an early Semester at Sea circumnavigation. In 1982, he led a study abroad program throughout the People’s Republic of China. The Grant S. Lee Scholarship was established in 2002 to honor his legacy of “enhancing the University’s environment for students from all backgrounds, cultures, and racial and ethnic heritages.” Lee made major contributions to building institutional relationships between CSU and colleges and universities in Korea. In 2002, he traveled with President Albert Yates and a group of other distinguished faculty and administrators to Korea to promote ties with Seoul National University and other institutes of higher learning there.
As an educator Lee valued his unique position revealing the useful treasure of an education in philosophy and the liberal arts. He was also an early cultural ambassador to an audience sometimes unfamiliar with eastern ideas and faces. Ironically, he loved Westerns. But he loved his family more. He is survived by his wife Grace Lee and three children: Yvonne (Shannon) Hayashi, Kathleen (John) Gravdahl, and Lawrence (Stacey) Lee, and five wonderful grandchildren. He was interred in Grandview Cemetery in Fort Collins.