Remembering Mary Ann Lee, St. Louis Philanthropist

Apr. 18, 2017

Remembering Mary Ann Lee, St. Louis Philanthropist
Mary Ann Lee with her granddaughter at the dedication of Mary Ann Lee Plaza.

The Webster University community mourns the passing of Mary Ann Lee, a longtime supporter of Webster University and a renowned philanthropist who supported many causes and institutions across the St. Louis region.

The Mary Ann Lee Plaza on Webster's home campus in Webster Groves was dedicated in her name in 2013. A gift from Mary Ann and her late husband, E. Desmond “Des” Lee, funded the Des Lee Visiting Scholars program, which from 2001-2011 brought global scholars in diverse fields from around the world to teach and speak at Webster.

In addition to Webster University, organizations that received support from Mary Ann and Des Lee include the St. Louis Symphony, United Way of Greater St. Louis, Saint Louis Science Center, St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Art Museum, plus many more. Providing guidance as well as support, Mary Ann also served on the boards of several such institutions. Citing gratitude for her widespread support, she received the St. Louis Woman of Achievement for Philanthropy Award, the Woman of the Year Award from Variety the Children's Charity of St. Louis, and the NAACP Humanitarian Award (along with Des Lee), among others. 

More on her passing and lifetime achievements is available at the St. Louis Business Journal and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A memorial site is available online at

tags:  alumni, in memoriam, advancement, webster today,