Dear Smith School Community,
I am saddened to report that Professor Emeritus Lee Preston passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011. Lee had advanced prostate cancer. After graduating from High School in Denton Texas, Lee earned a competitive scholarship to Vanderbilt University, where he majored in economics. He was then admitted to the PhD program in economics at Harvard. Halfway through the program he entered the U.S. Army and served two years in Germany. This foreign posting started Lee's lifelong interest in international travel. Later, after completing his PhD, he became a business professor at University of California, Berkeley. There he developed his interest in corporate governance. His early writings were instrumental in creating the field of Corporate Social Responsibility for which he received several honors. His classic book “Private Management and Public Policy,” written in 1975, is soon to be republished by Stanford University Press. Lee later accepted a chaired position as director of a research Institute at the University of Buffalo. He moved to the University of Maryland in 1980 and served at the Smith School until his retirement in 1998. During his distinguished career he was the author or co-author of approximately 200 publications and edited ten volumes of “Research in Corporate Social Performance.” Lee was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Management in 1982, named a Distinguished Scholar Teacher at Maryland in 1994, and received the University’s Distinguished International Service Award in 1996.
Lee's many service contributions at Maryland include directing the PhD program and creating and directing the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). While at Maryland he created a joint MBA program with the University of Lodz in Poland and helped manage it for many years. He received significant honors from the government of Poland for this work, including a degree of Doctor Honoris Causa. Externally, among his many appointments, Lee served the Kennedy Administration in the Office of The Council of Economic Advisors, and spent a semester advising the Ministry of Commerce of the Government of China on corporate governance issues. After retirement, Lee had several positions as visiting scholar at various European universities, and served three years as Ombudsman for faculty and staff on the Maryland campus.
Lee leaves his wife, Pat, one son, two daughters and several grandchildren. A memorial service for Lee will be held on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 4512 College Ave., College Park. There will be a reception at the church following the service.