Friends, Former Students of Winthrop History Professor Establish Scholarship

October 20, 2017


  • The J. Edward Lee Scholarship will support graduate students majoring in history.
  • Lee has been a Department of History faculty member since 1994.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University Professor of History Eddie Lee ’83 has devoted much of his career to the study of history – particularly the history of South Carolina, his home state. To continue his legacy and support budding historians, Lee’s friends and former pupils have established a scholarship for Winthrop graduate students.

The J. Edward Lee Scholarship, an endowed fund, will provide one annual scholarship to a graduate student studying history, with first preference given to students who are interested in South Carolina 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.

Lee said that he hopes the endowed fund will “encourage and reward future generations of historians,” with a focus on students who plan to pursue a doctorate in history.

The longtime mayor of York, South Carolina, added that the scholarship also recognizes his strong family ties to Winthrop: His late grandmother, Class of 1897 graduate Victoria Sanders, his mother, Ola Bankhead ’36, and his mother-in-law, Jacqueline Hardy ’40, are Winthrop alumnae.

The J. Edward Lee Scholarship highlights the university’s emphasis on creating a flourishing culture of philanthropy, with fundraising defined as a top priority in the Winthrop Plan, the university’s strategic plan through 2025.

Lee earned his M.A. in history at Winthrop, where he has been a Department of History faculty member since 1994 and directs the graduate studies in history program. He is the author or co-author of 15 books, and he serves frequently as a commentator for national media, including NBC, CNN and NPR. Lee also presents public programs on topics ranging from South Carolina history to the U.S. presidency. His teaching has won numerous awards, including a Presidential Citation and a Faculty Student Life Award at Winthrop as well as the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation’s Elected Official Award in 2015.

In addition, Lee is a commissioner for the South Carolina Archives. He also serves on the Review Committee for the National Register of Historic Places, and he is chairman of the Catawba Regional Council of Governments.

Make an online gift to the J. Edward Lee Scholarship, or send checks payable to “Winthrop University Foundation” to:

Winthrop University Foundation
302 Tillman Hall
Rock Hill, SC 29733

For more information, contact Meredith Carter, communications coordinator, at or 803/323-2236.


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