My Winthrop Experience

Name: Eddie Lee
Position: Professor of history
College: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of History

Eddie Lee's love affair with history started at an early age and was stoked by relatives who loved learning about our country's capital.

"I was fortunate to have two uncles and two aunts who lived in the Washington, D.C. area so I spent many summers as a child visiting historic sites like Mount Vernon, Stratford Hall, the Smithsonian, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Capitol Building," said Lee '83, who is a history professor.

As a boy, he remembered sitting in Vice President Lyndon Johnson's chair in 1962, and the following year, traveling to Gettysburg for the 100th anniversary of that important Civil War battle.

Closer to home, Lee and his parents visited locations around South Carolina, such as rice plantations in the Lowcountry and tobacco farms in the Pee Dee. "I've always been able to breathe the history of this nation," said the Chester County native. "To appreciate Southern history is to appreciate the many stories of colorful characters who have lived in the Palmetto state."

Lee joined the Winthrop faculty in 1994 and directs the graduate studies in history program. Looking back on his teaching career, Lee said the 10,000 students he has taught during the last 33 years bring him tremendous pride. "I've always enjoyed hearing from them and getting updates on their lives."

The other job for which he's known was mayor of York, the county seat for York County. Lee, the only Winthrop faculty member who is an elected official, has served in that capacity for 16 years.

He said he has been successful in his role as a professor, historian and mayor because he is obsessive about good time management.

"I do not waste time. I begin, as I always have, my day at 4:30 a.m. I try to complete each day at 10:30 p.m., but that is subject to change because unexpected things happen!"

Lee also is the author or co-author of 15 books, including two on the Vietnam War, one of which came out during the 25th anniversary of the end of that conflict.

He was honored to be selected for the Palmetto Trust's Historic Preservation's Elected Official Award in 2015 for leading the efforts to save the historic York County Courthouse. As the recipient, he received the award in the State House from then Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster.

For his many contributions, a group of Lee's students have come together to create the J. Edward Lee Scholarship. The endowed fund will provide scholarship money for a graduate student studying history. Lee's friends and former students-including six history professors, five current elected officials, a dozen educators and numerous entrepreneurs-have contributed to the scholarship.

For more information or to contribute, visit the Winthrop development website.