- 74 years old
- Date of birth: Mar 18, 1937
- Place of birth:
Korea, Republic of
- Date of passing: Dec 12, 2011
- Place of passing:
Syosset, New York, United States
|Let the memory of Jong Pil be with us forever|
Jong Pil Lee, loving father and husband, passionate promoter of math education and recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring at the White House, passed away on Monday, December 12th, 2011 at his home in Syosset. He was 74.
Dr. Lee was born on March 18, 1937 in South Korea. After receiving his BS degree, he walked into the office of Pan American Airlines in Seoul and told the manager he had a scholarship to receive a graduate education in America. Impressed with the young man's earnestness, the manager issued an airline ticket on credit and Jong Pil Lee agreed to repay it back in monthly installments.
43 years later, that same earnest man who became a Distinguished Service Professor at the State University of New York at Old Westbury, walked into the White House to receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, one of only two mathematics professors in the nation to be so honored that year.
Dr. Lee always remembered the generosity of America and the colleagues around him who helped him along. He was an unfailing idealist in a world of cynicism and so, he continuously thought about ways to give back to America.
Some 25 years ago, when he heard a "national cry for better mathematics education," Dr. Lee called a meeting of leading math teachers on Long Island and went into action. He founded an Institute of Leadership Training for Teaching Mathematics and Technology and an annual Long Island Mathematics Education Conference that has brought out over 10,000+ educators over the past 25 years. One of his great accomplishments is the creation of the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students, now beginning its 20th year on the Old Westbury campus.
Dr. Lee had a great capacity for love, a wonderful sense of humor, a child's curiosity, a belief that one person can make a difference and an ability to inspire others to accomplish great things. He was a true believer in the American dream.
He is survived by his wife Myoung Hye, two daughters Lisa and Karen, and sons-in-law, Jun and Richard. His sister Young Hee in Michigan, and two brothers Jong Pyo and Jong Soon in South Korea. Even though he was a financially struggling graduate student in America, he also supported his younger siblings so that they could receive a better education.
Dr. Lee was a Distinguished Service Professor at the State University of New York at Old Westbury, President of the Long Island Mathematics Education Conference Board and was recently inducted into the New York State Mathematic Educators' Hall of Fame.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following non-profit fund to support math education programs and promising young math students:
Old Westbury College Foundation Inc - Jong Pil Lee Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 210
Old Westbury, NY 11568
Please send any correspondence to the family home:
8 Narcissus Drive
Syosset, NY 11791
"My daughter attended Dr. Lee's program at Old Westbury and came home with enthusiasm and interesting problems. Thank you."
"Dear Friends /Family of Jong:
I am/ was a close friend of Jong Lee and still recall his very kind nature that he hid under a mask of strictness. He was loved by his students (in math) much . He will be missed by me R ARaman(short )"
"I just want thank Dr.Lee and his family for the opportunity that was given to my son Alan when he was accepted to the program.Through Dr.Lee starting the program for the gifted it opened many more doors for his future.Alan has not lost his love for mathematics and that shows by being accepted to MIT two weeks ago.Thanks again and my you rest in peace and your family find comfort."
"Thought of you Dr. Lee this week as I (struggled) to help my son understand his latest mathematics assignment. You continue to be missed..."
"Thank you Dr. Lee for all those great Summer Institutes with Judy Broadwin, they changed my life. I have been teaching the best and brightest at Baldwin SHS ever since because of you and Judy. Also, I make a point of never missing LIMACON! I think I've been going to this conference as a participant or presenter for nearly 25 years. What an honor and a privilege to have known you!"
"Our 2 sons had the distinct privilege of attending Dr. Lee's Institute for Creative Problem Solving at Old Westbury. I will always remember with great fondness how he circulated among the parents and children each Saturday morning, full of enthusiasm and energy, absolutely sure of the rightness of what he was doing for these gifted children. Thank you and God bless you Dr. Lee."
"Dr. Lee was such an incredible individual. It was an honor to be his student. He was such an optimistic and encouraging person. His lectures always had a moral at the end. Once he told us about himself coming to the United States and how he struggled. He told us we will have to as well. Nothing is easy, it's only up to us. We can either work hard or discourage ourselves from moving on."
"All three of my children were fortunate to participate in the Institute, and the program changed our lives. It was a chance for them to grow academically, to forge friendships with like-minded peers, and to discover many new opportunities. This program indirectly led to my involvement with America's only Museum of Mathematics, and I hope to find a way to recognize Dr. Lee within MoMath."
"I have worked with Dr. Lee in the Creative-Problem Solving Institute that he organized. He was a gentle, kind-hearted, gifted and professional math professor who will not be forgotten. Although his English was not always clear,it was not possible to say No to him. So at the risk of offending him, I volunteered anyway. His influence on all of us have made us better and will remain. May Our"
"I don't know if I'll ever meet anyone more honorable than Dr. Lee. My son had the high privilege of attending Dr. Lee's Institute; it was life-changing for him. I will always love Dr. Lee for that. I am grateful to his family for sharing him with us, and to all those that helped Dr. Lee's dreams become reality. The ripple effects of his life's work will go on forever."
"It is not often in life you come across someone like Dr. Lee, a man purely motivated by his great passion and conviction to serve society. Although I will miss him forever, I will forever remember his message to never give up working hard to give back to society by helping to improve the mathematics education in America. He was a great man whose impact on my life is eternal."
"Dr. Lee, to you; my eternal gratitude for inspiring my son and being an awesome role model . I did not have the honor of knowing you in person, yet, I feel I knew you through his admiration and praise of your wonderful character. Your love and passion for teaching begot a future math professor. Thank you. To your family; may you all find strength in his love and each other. God bless you!"
"Dr. Lee is the reason why I became a math major in the first place. His passion for teaching math and love for his students to do well was beyond measure. He would always greet you with a smile and treat you as one of his children. What I remember about him most is his humor. He lived life to the fullest. He will be missed. God Bless you Dr. Lee. You can finally rest and be with God."
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (NIV)
Dr. Lee, you will live in our hearts and memories! Doing Maths can be very fun."
"What a fine gentleman and an excellent mathematics educator. I have personally known Jong for well over 30 years. He will be immensely missed and his dedication to mathematics education was greatly appreciated. He will live on in all of our hearts and memories."
"Dr. Lee will absolutely be missed. My son was one of the many many children who benefitted from his program, his supportive words and his commitment to creative problem solving. As parents we enjoyed working with him and admired his resolve in continuing to bring this program to gifted children across long island absolutely free of charge. He will be missed."
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