Lee Memorial Scholarship Endowed at Southeast



Oct. 14, 2005 – The James L. Lee and Esther Ray Lee Memorial Scholarship, honoring the late parents of Dr. A. Louise Hart, former chair of Southeast’s Department of Nursing, has been endowed through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

Hart, who was a professor of nursing at Southeast from 1995 until her retirement in May 2005, established the initial scholarship with a $1,000 stipend she received with the University’s PRIDE Award. The PRIDE Award, which Hart received in 2004, recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence as a teacher, an extraordinary level of scholarship and service, and whose overall accomplishments are especially noteworthy.

Hart, with assistance from her seven siblings and several of the Lee’s grandchildren, added to the initial funding to endow the scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to Southeast students from Mississippi County in Missouri, who have been accepted into the University’s Department of Nursing. Hart’s siblings and fellow donors to the scholarship are David Ray Lee, Mary Marie Lee Schmidt, James L. Lee, Jr., Robert E. Lee, Margaret Lee Hart and Owen M. Lee. All seven of the Lee children were born in Mississippi County.

James L. and Esther Ray Lee farmed throughout their life and are buried in IOF Cemetery in Charleston, Mo. Mr. Lee was graduate of Charleston High School, and Mrs. Lee was a graduate of East Prairie High School.

Hart credits her parents with inspiring each of their children to attain higher education.

“My parents were both strong believers in a college education,” Hart said. “My mother held an associate degree in education from Southeast and went on to earn her bachelor and master of science degrees in education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Although my father did not complete his degree, he helped his entire family attend institutions of higher education. Five of my siblings have bachelor’s degrees, three have master’s degrees, one has an educational specialist degree and three of us have doctorates, which demonstrates the importance of education to our family,” Hart said.

Hart also credits her mother with serving as her role model, and as a role model to others, a woman who considered herself blessed to have an education and always encouraged and educated others about the importance of an advanced education.

Hart embraced her parents’ lessons, first earning a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Missouri-Columbia, then going on to earn two master of science degrees in nursing and a doctoral degree in nursing from Indiana University School of Nursing. She has continued her parents’ legacy by encouraging her own students in their educational pursuits, encouraging them to inspire others to attain their degrees as well, and by establishing a scholarship that will help fund the education of future generations of nursing students.

“This scholarship is an opportunity to start something special in honor of my parents,” Hart said.