TSU alumni giving exceeds half million dollars in honor of parents

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The children of two prominent Tennessee State University alumni have donated $250,000 in honor of their parents who attended TSU 80 years ago.

Damon Lee-2
TSU alumnus Damon Lee III, (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Damon Lee III, a 1967 graduate with a Business Administration degree, made the donation in the names of Damon and Rachel Lee at TSU’s 2016 Scholarship Appreciation Reception on April 7. His sister, Kimberly Lee-Lamb, also contributed to the gift, which will benefit TSU’s College of Business by providing scholarships to out-of-state juniors and seniors majoring in business.

The Damon and Rachel Lee Scholarship Endowment Fund was established in 1999 with a $200,000 donation to TSU. The family donated $50,000 to the university in 2005, and with this latest donation, their total contributions to the university exceed $500,000.

TSU officials say the family’s recent donation is among the top five given by a family in the university’s history.

“We are very grateful for the contributions the Lee family has made to Tennessee State University over the years,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “This latest donation not only shows their continued commitment to TSU, but their desire to better the lives of students by helping them get a quality education to compete in the global marketplace.”

Damon and Rachel Lee were college sweethearts. Damon was a founding member of TSU’s Beta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, and graduated with honors in 1935 with a degree in History. Years later, after relocating to Los Angeles, he earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and license.

Rachel was a Business Education major and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. After graduating in 1936, she began a career as a business education teacher at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia. She continued her teaching career in Los Angeles at Los Angeles Unified School District.

Damon Lee III said both his parents were business advocates who believed in “people having a knowledge of business, regardless of your profession.”

“The whole world revolves around business,” said Lee, a retired Los Angeles-based corporate marketing executive.

Eloise Abernathy Alexis is associate vice president for institutional advancement at TSU. She said while the latest donation by the Lee family will benefit students, she believes it will also inspire other alumni to give to the university.

“Regardless of the amount, when an alum sees another alum give, they say … ‘I should do that too,’” said Alexis.


Department of Media Relations

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