In a statement at the February 18, 2014, Oakton Community College Board of Trustees meeting, Lee said, “I have been blessed so abundantly and have had the privilege to serve in this College and in this community for 30 years. Oakton, its people, and its students, are woven into the fabric of my life and the life of my family. We are all connected. I have a sure and certain confidence the ties that bind us will not be broken. My heart is overflowing with gratitude.”
Lee’s tenure at Oakton began in 1985 when she was named vice president of academic affairs. In 1995, Lee was appointed president, the third president in the institution’s history. A Wilmette resident, Lee holds a doctorate and master of arts degree in English language and literature from the University of Chicago, where she was a Ford Foundation Fellow in the Humanities and a Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Scholar in Women’s Studies.
In 2012, Lee was named one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women of Illinois” by the National Diversity Council. She has received numerous awards and distinctions for her work promoting equity, diversity, and lifelong learning and has provided visionary direction for higher education in the state and in the nation. Under her leadership, the New York Times named Oakton among the best community colleges in the country.