WINTERVILLE—Family, friends and co-workers have created a touching tribute to Pitt Community College’s former radiography program director by establishing the Karen Lee Memorial Scholarship with the PCC Foundation.
Lee, who passed away May 27 at age 53, taught for 26 years at PCC. She followed in her father Dan Martin’s footsteps by joining the faculty in 1990 as the radiography program’s clinical coordinator before being promoted to the director’s role in 2009.
According to Donnie Lee, Karen’s husband of 31 years, plans are being made to develop the memorial scholarship into a permanently endowed scholarship for PCC radiography students. Donnie Lee, a former PCC faculty member and retired dean of the college’s Business Division, is hoping his wife’s love for radiography education will live on through the scholarship.
A lifelong Pitt County resident, Karen Lee was a 1982 graduate of PCC’s Radiography Program. Before joining the faculty at her alma mater, she was employed with the Radiography Department at Pitt County Memorial Hospital for eight years.
Described by her former students as “exceedingly caring, encouraging, considerate and professional,” Lee made every effort to provide them with what they needed for success in college and their future careers. She was a two-time recipient of the Joseph E. Downing Award for Excellence in Teaching (1998 and 2015) at PCC and was also nominated for the prestigious honor in 1991 and 2000.
Lee’s former PCC co-workers remember her love for her students (she often referred to them as her “children”), the field of radiography and teaching.
“Karen was a valued member of the Health Sciences Division team and was totally committed every day to the success of her students and the radiography program,” said PCC Health Sciences Dean Donna Neal.
Another faculty member recalled Lee as a “passionate technologist, instructor and leader” and added that “every student that came in contact with Karen Lee knew and felt as if they had a friend in life.”
PCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Susan Nobles said the Karen Lee Memorial Scholarship will be presented each spring, during the college’s annual pinning ceremony for radiography students. It will be awarded to a second-year radiography student, she said, adding that contributions to the scholarship can be made to the PCC Foundation at P.O. Drawer 7007, Greenville, N.C. 27835.