Walsh College will confer an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Aubrey W. Lee, Sr., a member of its Board of Trustees since 1984 and a pioneer in the banking industry, at its 103rd commencement ceremonies on Saturday, June 21, 2014, at Zion Christian Church, Troy.
A banking professional since 1957, Lee advanced his professional career from teller to president of National Bank of Detroit (NBD) in Troy. He became the senior vice president and head of the firm’s municipal banking group prior to his retirement. He later served as consultant to the president, Fifth Third Bank, mentoring young leaders.
Lee was the first African-American to hold the titles of branch manager and lender at NBD, and was one of the first black vice-presidents of a major U.S. bank in 1979. He was instrumental in the hiring, development, and promotion of minority bankers in southeast Michigan.
“Aubrey has provided a wealth of guidance and wisdom both to the Board and to me through his service to Walsh,” said Stephanie Bergeron, president and CEO, Walsh College. “His enthusiasm, leadership, strategic vision, and strong business values have provided a solid foundation for our academics, governance, and growth.”
At Walsh, Lee chaired the Organization and Compensation, Governance, and Executive Committees of the Board of Trustees. He has also supported Walsh through the Aubrey W. and Jeane F. Lee Endowed Scholarship for African-American students. Lee was a founding member of the Walsh College President’s Club, a philanthropic society of alumni, friends, and employees.
“Walsh fills an important business education niche in our community,” said Lee. “It develops students’ practical skills and critical thinking valued by employers. If you earn a Walsh degree, you really deserve it. This special recognition from Walsh underscores my lifelong interest in the lives and professional careers of all young people.”
Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from West Virginia State College and a master’s degree from Marshall University. After serving in the Army ROTC during college, he earned the rank of lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He later served in the Army Reserve and advanced to captain.
He has received numerous awards and honors, including Crain’s Detroit Business Black Business Leader Award; the Jeffery W. Barry Leadership Award; Detroit Urban League Distinguished Warrior; National Bankers Association Trailblazers Award; and the City of Detroit Medallion.
Most recently, Lee was honored at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History at a special reception to honor his career and community involvement. “Aubrey received an honorarium at the event for donation to a college of his choice and his choice was Walsh,” Bergeron noted. “It demonstrates his passion for Walsh and its business programs.”
Lee has held several leadership positions throughout the region, including president, Troy Chamber of Commerce; chairman, board of directors, William Beaumont Hospital; co-founder and president, Urban Financial Services Coalition; and president, church council, Outer Drive Faith Lutheran Church. He was also an adjunct business instructor at Wayne County Community College.
Founded in 1922, Walsh College is a private, not for profit institution offering upper-division undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees and certificate programs. One of Southeast Michigan’s largest business schools, Walsh has locations in Troy, Novi, Clinton Township and Port Huron, as well as online. Walsh’s business services division offers the Walsh Institute, which provides solutions for businesses through training, continuing education and consulting. Walsh is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.ncahlc.org; phone: 312-263-0456) and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE, www.iacbe.org). The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP, www.acbsp.org) accredits specific degree programs.
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PHOTO OF AUBREY LEE: