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Sons honor late father and finance professor with named fellowship

Oct 23, 2017

Paul Lee and his brother Chris know their father, Bong-Soo Lee, loved Florida State University and the College of Business, where he served as the Patty Hill Smith Eminent Scholar in Finance from 2005 until his death in March 2015. To pay tribute to him, the brothers recently established the Bong-Soo Lee Fellowship Endowment in the Department of Finance.

“Our dad was dedicated to academia, mentoring students and his research, and he was proud to work for FSU,” said Paul Lee. “We knew he always planned to give back to the college, and we are trying to honor his wishes by creating this fellowship in his name.”

The fellowship will be awarded annually to an MBA student or a graduate student in finance.

“Bong-Soo was a beloved member of our faculty and the FSU community, and we miss him every day,” said William Christiansen, chair of the Department of Finance. “By establishing this fellowship, Paul and Chris pay tribute to their father and keep his memory alive for generations of students. We are very grateful to them.”

Both sons followed their father into the finance field. Paul works in investment banking, most recently in corporate development with Microsoft. Chris eventually transitioned into a law career and now works as associate general counsel at a major energy company in Houston, Texas, where the brothers reside.  

Before joining FSU’s finance faculty in 2005, Professor Lee taught at the University of Houston as the Chase Professor of International Business, and at Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota as an assistant professor. Prior to entering academia, he was a deputy director for the Ministry of Government Administration and Ministry of Finance in Korea from 1974 to 1981. 

Lee arrived at FSU with a wealth of economics training, first at Seoul National University (B.A. 1975) from 1982 to 1986, Washington State University, where he earned a master’s in economics, and then at the University of Minnesota, where he earned his Ph.D. under the tutelage of four future Nobel Laureates in economics.

He was a much sought-after visiting professor for universities around the globe and lecturer for international conferences. His discussions combined and applied economics principles with those of traditional finance issues. He was among the world’s top-ranking finance professors in terms of research production, and his research in financial economics and investment analysis appeared in such prestigious journals as the Journal of Finance, The Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Monetary Economics and The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Lee conducted joint research with Sogang University as part of the World Class University program of the South Korean government in summer of 2009 and 2010. He was president of the Korea-America Finance Association from 2005 to 2006, and president of the Korea-America Economic Association in 2003. He also served as the chair of the advisory board of the latter association in 2010 and 2011. He was a visiting faculty member at a number of schools including Keio University (Japan), Hong Kong Polytech University, Hunan University (China), Tunghai University (Taiwan), Sogang University (South Korea), National Cheng Kung University (Taiwan), Griffith Business School (Australia) and Pohang University of Science and Technology (South Korea).

Shortly after arriving at FSU, Lee was recruited by the president of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) to be the founding dean of its Graduate School of Finance. He spent a successful year there from 2006 to 2007, bringing in millions of dollars in government and private funding.

-by Barbara Ash





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