Lee Seng Tee is recognized internationally as a successful business executive, major philanthropist and patron of the arts as a director of the Lee Group of Companies, a Singapore-based conglomerate of firms in industries that include rubber, pineapple, banking and investments. Tee received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in 2008.
Lee’s commitment to improving people’s lives has been demonstrated through both the generosity of the Lee Foundation, which Lee directs, and his personal support of and passion for promoting higher education worldwide.
In February 1942, Lee’s plans to attend college abroad were thwarted by the Japanese invasion of Singapore. He spent most of the war years in Singapore, and then left for the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from Wharton with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1950.
Using a business background to support the arts
A champion of the arts, Lee has served as advisor to many cultural institutions and was named an honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals for his philanthropic support of libraries worldwide.
He has provided generous support through the Lee Foundation to Washington University’s McDonnell International Scholars Academy, a global partnership of leading research institutions that fosters research and collaboration on critical international issues.
In 2001, he was elected a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is an honorary fellow of the British Academy.
Lee has received honorary degrees from many institutions including Oxford and Cambridge universities, the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand and Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.