Steve Lee, vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer at the University of Mobile who oversaw the Christian school’s recent $7 million campus renovation, died Tuesday, March 17, following an extended illness.
University of Mobile President Dr. Mark Foley said Lee will be remembered for many things – a deep love for his family, an unwavering faith in God, an abundant sense of humor and even temperament in any situation, and a genuine interest in and care for everyone he met.
“Steve lived a life of purpose, making a difference,” Foley said. “The difference he made at the University of Mobile as vice president for business affairs is evident the moment you turn down Pollock-Altmayer Drive on campus and see the results of our recent campus renovation project. Steve’s conservative fiscal management enabled us to undertake a $7 million campus enhancement project, and he led the department charged with making it happen. He was so proud of this university, and of his part in helping it grow.
“Most of all, Steve was proud of the people he worked with, and he was genuinely loved by so many here at the university and beyond,” Foley added.
Brian Boyle, vice president for institutional advancement, described Lee as “a Southern gentleman.”
“He loved life. He loved a good meal. He loved a good football game. He loved his family. And he loved his work,” Boyle said.
Lee was recently honored by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which awarded him the Meritorious Service Award during its annual meeting Dec. 6-9 in Nashville, TN.
The prestigious award was presented in recognition of Lee’s “untiring service on 19 committee visits, and as a member of the Accreditation Process Project and the Finance Subcommittee,” according to SACSCOC President, Belle S. Wheelan, Ph.D. “We appreciate your support of the work of the Commission and all that you have contributed to ensuring quality among our accredited institutions.”
SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states.
Following the presentation, Foley said Lee was widely recognized as one of the foremost financial resources for schools accredited by SACSCOC.
“I am delighted Steve Lee is being recognized in this way. It is among the highest honors of recognition that SACSCOC provides, and it is certainly fitting,” Foley said then.”
Lee has served as vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer for the University of Mobile since 1995 and was a Certified Public Accountant. Prior to that, he was audit manager at Wilkins Miller CPA from 1988-1995, and was president and co-owner of Paulk Moving & Storage from 1974-1986.
Most recently, Lee oversaw the university’s $7 million campus enhancement project, the most far-reaching campus-wide renovation effort in the school’s history.
He was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, and the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers, where he served on the audit committee.
His service with SACSCOC included visiting committees, special committees, criteria and reports committees, and witness at appeals hearings. He has been a presenter for concurrent sessions at the annual meeting.
Lee was a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Luke’s Episcopal School in Mobile and has served as Board treasurer. He was a member of the West Mobile Rotary Club, where he has served as president.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of South Alabama and has been a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Alabama since 1990.
He is survived by his wife, Rhonda, of Mobile; son Ryan Lee of Mobile; daughter Rachel Lee of Mobile; two sisters, Sue (Ted) Bell and Linda (Joe) Phillips of Mobile, and one aunt, Lucy (Bob) Chiesa of Mobile.
Visitation will be held Saturday, March 21, from 1–2pm at Radney Funeral Home. A Celebration of Life service begins at 2pm, followed by a reception. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the Steve Lee Endowed Scholarship at the University of Mobile, 5735 College Parkway, Mobile, Alabama 36613.