Philosophy professor dies after 49 years at KSU

Kevin Vinci

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the most accurate information possible about Dr. Kwang-Sae Lee’s life.

Dr. Kwang-Sae Lee, longtime philosophy professor at Kent State, passed away Wednesday at Akron City Hospital.

Lee began working at Kent State in 1963 and retired this past May, making him the longest serving faculty member after 49 years. Even though he was retired, he was still teaching Introduction to Philosophy this semester.

Dr. David W. Odell-Scott, philosophy professor & chair, said Lee was a close friend. He said Lee grew up in Seoul. When the Korean War broke out, Lee had to evacuate with his brother ahead of the communist force to the safety of a family member’s home in southern Korea. He later moved to the United States and attended the College of Idaho.

Odell-Scott said after Lee received his degree, he earned his PhD in Philosophy at Yale University. Later, Lee held a position as Program Chair of Chinese Philosophy in the American Philosophy Association. This led him to be a keynote speaker at the World Philosophy Conference. Lee was also a very established writer, having many articles and books published in the English and Korean language.

Over Lee’s years of service to the university, he was a professor, faculty advisor for the Korean Student Association and served for many years on the College of Arts & Sciences Advisory Committee.

Odell-Scott said he has been in contact with other philosophers from all around the world, all of whom said they have been affected by the passing of their colleague.

The death of Lee has made worldwide news, appearing in major newspapers in Korea and other countries.

Contact Kevin Vinci at [email protected].