St. Louis Public Radio News
5:40 am
Tue January 12, 2010

Millionaire philanthropist Desmond Lee dies at 92

St. Louis, MO – Millionaire philanthropist Desmond Lee passed away at 92 on Tuesday.

Over the years Lee donated more than $70 million, including large sums to local universities including the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Washington University and Webster University.

When Lee sold his company in 1993, he decided to donate two-thirds of the money to local causes, including the Desmond Lee Collaborative Vision, which endowed 30 professors at local universities.

Former UMSL Chancellor Blanche Touhill said Lee's generosity was focused primarily at leveling the playing field for children from disadvantaged neighborhoods.

"That was a gift and a vision for St. Louis that has left us the better," said Touhill.

The professors hired under the Desmond Lee Collaborative are required to spend half of their time on community-based projects.