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Seattle University


Remembering a Dear Friend

Written by Mike Thee
August 24, 2012

Longtime SU supporter Rhoady Lee passed away Wednesday, Aug. 22.

In a letter to faculty and staff, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., called Lee a "dear friend and dedicated alumnus of Seattle University. Rhoady's commitment to our university was boundless and unwavering."

After graduating with a degree in commercial science in 1950, Lee went on to serve on the Alumni Board of Governors, the President's Club Steering Committee and the university's Board of Trustees.

"Together with his wife Jeanne Marie, '51, whom he met while they were students at SU, Rhoady was instrumental in shaping the university as we know it today," the president wrote. "Ever committed to their alma mater, the Lees had a hand in enriching and making possible so many aspects of the Seattle University experience. This includes their generous support of the Casey Building, the Quad and Upper Mall, Chapel of St. Ignatius, the creation of a home for the School of Theology and Ministry in Hunthausen Hall, the Student Center and the William J. Sullivan, S.J. Leadership Scholarship endowment. They also were steadfast in lending their support and leadership to numerous other charitable and faith-based efforts in the Seattle community.

"Rhoady very appropriately was Seattle University's first Alumnus of the Year in 1985. In 1997, he and Jeanne Marie received honorary doctorates from the university, and in 2007 they were the inaugural recipients of the St. Ignatius Medal."

In his letter, Father Sundborg called the Jeanne Marie and Rhoady Lee Jr. Center for the Arts, which was completed in 2006, "highly acclaimed" and "a living tribute to the Lees and all that they have meant to our university." The president added that "The center was built largely through the generosity of Jeanne Marie and Rhoady's children, who themselves have extended their family's great legacy of support for Seattle University."

The following video, shown at the St. Ignatius Medal presentation in 2007, captures the Lees' impact on Seattle University, Catholic education and the wider community.