Mike Lee portraitInterim Provost Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee. (Sacramento State/Bruce Clarke)

Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee, Sacramento State’s interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, has been honored by the Asian Pacific Fund (asianpacificfund.org) with a $10,000 award that will provide scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander students.

The Bay Area-based APF is a community foundation dedicated to strengthening the Asian and Pacific Islander community by increasing philanthropy and supporting organizations that serve the most vulnerable community members.

The Chang-Lin Tien Leadership in Education Award is given annually to recipients throughout the United States. A committee reviews candidates whose names are submitted during a call for nominations, and Lee’s name was put forward by the full board of the California Joint API Legislative Caucus Institute.

“The committee looks for candidates who have achieved significant academic accomplishments and demonstrate the potential to advance to the highest leadership levels in higher education,” says APF President and Executive Director Audrey Yamamoto. “We are extremely proud that several have gone on to become university presidents or chancellors.”

“Mike Lee cares,” says Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen. “This award is amazing. It is for Mike, but just as importantly, it is for our students – for scholarships. That the APF would dedicate this award in the name of Mike Lee to Sac State students speaks so highly of Mike and his dedication to our students. May we all be Mike Lees.”

While it’s too soon to tell exactly how the Sac State scholarships will be administered, Lee already has an idea of the award’s scope. “I would like the scholarship to benefit Sacramento State students in the pursuit of leadership development opportunities,” he says.

Lee’s Sac State connection goes back 26 years, starting with his time as a professor in the College of Business Administration. Since then, he has served as a department chair, faculty senator, special assistant to the president, associate vice president and dean of Academic Programs, vice provost, and vice president for administration and chief financial officer.

“I am honored and humbled by the award,” Lee says. “Being the first in my family to complete a college degree, I am a true believer in the mission of the CSU and Sac State. This is also an award for Sac State and the CSU.”

The APF’s Chang-Lin Tien Leadership in Education Award is named after one of the organization’s founding board members, who also served as UC Berkeley chancellor from 1990 to 1997, the first Asian American to head a major U.S. research university.

His family established the award to encourage more Asian Americans to aspire to the leadership he exemplified. Tien's daughter Christine lives in the Sacramento area. “It’s rewarding to know my father’s legacy continues to be an inspiration and provides support for the API community," she says. "My congratulations to Mike Lee for the recognition of his tireless efforts on behalf of the students at Sacramento State.”

For more information on the award or the APF, visit the foundation’s website or call (415) 395-9985. – Craig Koscho