Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Thomas More announces its new president

Veteran educator starts on June 1

By Lori Hayes
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CRESTVIEW HILLS — An experienced educator from one of the country's leading Catholic colleges will take the helm at Thomas More College.

        After a six-month search, Thomas More's board of trustees named Dr. E. Joseph Lee II as its 12th president on Monday. Dr. Lee, vice president for student life at Manhattan College in Riverdale, N.Y., will start June 1.

        “He'll make a great addition,” said board member Ted Robinson, chairman of the president search committee. “He has extensive experiences that are highly relevant to us. ... He's a very outgoing and personable individual.”

        Dr. Lee succeeds the Rev. William F. Cleves, who announced his resignation last June. Father Cleves, who was appointed in 1992, decided to step down to return to the classroom. He will remain at Thomas More as vice chancellor, teach philosophy and theology and devote more time to the priesthood.

        For the past 11 years, Dr. Lee has been in charge of Manhattan's marketing efforts and student recruitment. He also supervised the college's admissions, financial aid and student life departments.

        Mr. Robinson cited Dr. Lee's experiences in student services, management and fund raising as strengths that will benefit Thomas More, located about eight miles south of Cincinnati in Kenton County.

        Founded in 1921, Thomas More, a four-year Catholic liberal arts college affiliated with the Diocese of Covington, was named one of the best liberal arts colleges in the South this year by U.S. News and World Report.

        Enrollment has been on the rise at the 1,500-student college, and school officials want to boost enrollment to at least 2,000 by 2005.

        “He has experiences recruiting and retaining students. That's an important part of our growth strategy,” Mr. Robinson said. “It's impor tant for any school to be growing and add students and new programs.”

        Thomas More began its presidential search in September. But after narrowing the field of 36 applicants to three finalists, the 14-member search committee failed to agree on a candidate and reopened the hunt.

        Dr. Lee was selected from a second group of two finalists over Joseph Bascuaz of the Argosy Education Group in Atlanta. Dr. Lee will be Thomas More's fifth lay president.

        “I am excited to assume the presidency of Thomas More College primarily because the mission of the college is one I can relate to and embrace,” Dr. Lee said in a statement released Monday.

        “Beginning with my Catholic liberal arts undergraduate education through most of my professional employment, I have been associated with institutions with similar missions.”

        Before coming to Manhattan, Dr. Lee was vice president for student services from 1983 to 1990 at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., where he was the first lay vice president. He also served as the college's dean of admissions and financial aid from 1976 to 1983.

        He also worked at Framingham State College in Framingham, Mass., where he was acting director of admissions from 1974-76 and director of career counseling and placement from 1971-74.

        Dr. Lee has a doctorate in higher education administration from Boston College and is a graduate of Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management. He received a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in French literature from St. Michael's College in Vermont.

        Dr. Lee and his wife, Christine, have three sons.

        The college will hold a reception on March 30 to introduce Mr. Lee to the community.


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