United Way to Honor Brenda D. Lee with Leadership Award

Nov. 6, 2012

Brenda D. Lee will receive the United Way’s Howard Wilson Coles Community Leadership Award at an event  at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Hyatt Rochester Hotel, 125 Main St. Lee is assistant dean for the Office of Medical Education and Student Affairs and assistant professor, Division of the Medical Humanities.

The Howard Wilson Coles Community Leadership Award recognizes individuals who demonstrate outstanding servant leadership and have made a positive impact on the lives of the people of the Rochester region. According to the United Way coordinator for the award, Rodney Allen Young, Lee is receiving the honor because “she embodies the ideals of African American leadership, which include strength, courage and a passion for what is right.“

David R. Lambert, M.D., senior associate dean for Medical Student Education said, “It is great to see Dean Lee recognized for her contributions both in our community and here at the Medical School. She has worked with numerous community organizations. She has also been a great mentor to medical students who have gone on to healthcare leadership positions across the country. She has the ability to help students realize their potential and empower them to overcome obstacles and achieve great things. Her talents are realized throughout the medical center where residents and faculty seek her perspective and guidance.”

Lee is committed to making a difference in the community and feels that her position requires her to be an advocate to help others succeed. “We all have a responsibility to be a voice for people who are not at the table, to help create a path for them,” she said.

Young said, “Dean Lee is someone who has quietly accomplished important things somewhat under the radar as far as the community is concerned – she has never done it for the limelight.” Lee has been active in the community serving on many boards and was a member of the Howard Wilson Coles Society since it began in 2005. She has led fundraising activities for the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Sojourner House, the YWCA, the Urban League, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, the American Baptist Churches of Rochester-Genesee Region, and Wilson Commencement Park.

The Howard Wilson Coles Community Leadership Award was established in 2005 and named in honor of Howard Wilson Coles, a Rochesterian who was a journalist, publisher, historian, broadcaster, activist and humanitarian. Lee joins the ranks of other prominent community leaders who have received the award in the past: William A. Johnson, Garth Fagan, the Rev. James Cherry Sr., Nana Iris Banister, Walter Cooper, Constance Mitchell, and Alice Holloway Young.