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George Lee Honored by White House

Awardees in Oval Office Ceremony

President George W. Bush stands with the recipients of the 2006 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring Friday, Nov. 16, 2007, in the Oval Office.

White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

On November 16, 2007, George C. Lee was among 11 people to receive a 2006 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) from President George W. Bush in a ceremony at the White House.

The annual award, administered by the National Science Foundation, recognizes commitment to mentoring students and boosting the participation of minorities, women and disabled students in science, mathematics and engineering and includes $10,000 grant for continued mentoring work and a Presidential certificate.

Well-known as a leader in the field of earthquake engineering, Dr. Lee, Samuel P. Capen Professor of Engineering at the University at Buffalo (UB), was instrumental in founding MCEER and served as Center Director from 1992-2002. He is currently Special Tasks Director.  Lee has been a professor in UB’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering since 1961 and has served as Dean of the School of Engineering and Department Chair.

"George Lee is one of the most distinguished and accomplished members of the University at Buffalo faculty," said UB President John B. Simpson. "I extend to him on behalf of the entire university community our sincerest congratulations on this outstanding recognition from the White House."

In 1981, Lee started a modest summer program for 20 students from underrepresented groups designed to boost math, science and computer skills among high school students in the greater Buffalo area. His efforts led to BEAM, Buffalo-area Engineering Awareness for Minorities, a cooperative educational enrichment program that prepares teen women and minority youth for careers in science, engineering and architecture.

In addition to his work with BEAM, Lee has worked with and fostered at UB organizations focused on underrepresented groups, including the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, as well as appointing the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences' first director of minority programs.

At MCEER, Dr. Lee has worked to increase underrepresented group participation both among the Center's researchers and in its executive committee.  As a researcher and UB faculty member, he also has advised numerous students from underrepresented groups.

As further evidence of his interest in boosting the diversity of UB's student body, he has been a proponent of international education, helping to negotiate UB's first exchange agreements in Beijing in 1980 and supporting more than 30 visiting international scholars.

His accomplishments have earned him numerous awards, among them the Superior Accomplishment Award from the National Science Foundation, the Newmark Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Walter P. Cooke Award from the UB Alumni Association, the President's Medal for Distinguished University Service from UB, the UB SEAS Dean's Award for Achievement and the UB Award for Outstanding Contributions to International Education.

A native of China, Lee received a bachelor's degree from National Taiwan University and holds master's and doctoral degrees in civil engineering from Lehigh University.

News Coverage:

The White House

National Science Foundation

University at Buffalo News Release

The Buffalo News