Hong Kong alumnus remembers MSU
The Spartan Scholarship Challenge ended on a high note when MSU received a significant gift from a doctoral alumnus who resides across the globe and was inspired to help undergraduate students at Michigan State. Dr. Peter Lee (’72, Ph.D. Chemistry, College of Natural Science) of Hong Kong established the Peter L. and Patricia Lee Spartan Scholarship Challenge with a $150,000 gift.
As he explains it: “I was fortunate to receive teaching and research assistantships throughout my Ph.D. program. I firmly believe that I must honor MSU through my support for some deserving students to receive a good undergraduate degree, the prerequisite to an advanced degree and a better future.”
He and Patricia have fond memories of their years at MSU. They particularly enjoyed canoeing along the Red Cedar River crisscrossing the campus, the fun of vegetable gardening on a plot freely assigned by Michigan State to married housing residents, and the memorable snow blizzard in 1968.
Dr. Lee has had a distinguished career in packaging, telecommunications, minerals and the soft drink industries. After leaving MSU, he became a research chemist for Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, Georgia. He accepted a business development position with the company and was instrumental in developing Coca-Cola’s business in China, for which he served as the first head of Coca-Cola China. He went on to serve as vice president and general manager of several companies with offices in Hong Kong. He held numerous executive positions with Chesapeake Corporation, a world-leading packaging supplier, including president of Chesapeake Asia-Pacific Limited and corporate vice president of Chesapeake Corporation. After retiring from Chesapeake, he became executive director of Rondabosh International Limited.
He believes his MSU education has served him well throughout his career.
“MSU offered a stimulating environment and I was fortunate to be exposed to distinguished professors who expounded in academic excellence and integrity,” he said.
He learned two indispensable maxims at MSU: use your instincts and don’t give up easily. He feels he has constantly used his chemist’s instinct, or intuition, to assess all the pros and cons when making important business decisions. During his first research project, he encountered quite a bit of challenge, but persisted, stayed focused and worked hard to make the first breakthrough. It was smooth sailing thereafter.
“This ‘gut’ mentality has stayed with me and prepared me well throughout my corporate career as a ‘trailblazer’,” he said.