Robert Lees Named UC Clermont’s 2016 Distinguished Alumnus


Lees will deliver the keynote address at Commencement Celebration

BATAVIA, OH (February 16, 2016) – Global Executive, Statesman, Proud New Richmond  native and local Restaurateur  – Robert Lees – has been named UC Clermont’s 2016 Distinguished Alumnus.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award is bestowed upon an individual who has distinguished themselves through significant professional accomplishment, made contributions to their community and attended UC Clermont College for at least one year.

Lees began his educational journey after he returned from military service in Asia including serving in Vietnam in 1971. “I was fortunate to land a temporary position with the Clermont County Sheriff’s Department where I was encouraged by a great man, Sheriff Don Watson, to continue my education. I ventured to UC’s main campus on a day when anti-war protests were in progress. I wasn’t ready for that. UC Clermont College had just opened and I found it to be smaller and more comfortable – that gave me confidence to begin my formal education,” said Lees.

“Bob has a contagious passion for New Richmond, Clermont County,  his college/university and life. He embarked on his international career journey – here at UC Clermont. We are delighted to honor him with this award,” said Dean Jeff Bauer.

Lees used UC Clermont as a launching pad to earn his bachelor’s degree in foreign affairs from the University of Cincinnati, graduating summa cum laude.  He earned a master’s degree in international management from The Thunderbird School of Global Management and holds a Certificate of Management Studies from the Institute for International Studies and Training in Japan.

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected UC Clermont’s distinguished alumnus of the year. Clermont College is where my quest for more education began. Education that helped to open my eyes to the great world out there to explore and to appreciate the rich history that we have right here at home,” said Lees.

Lees was a senior international executive for more than 30 years – working within the Asia Pacific region with decision makers in business, academia and government at the most senior levels.  He served for more than a decade as secretary general and then president and CEO of the highly respected Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC), in Honolulu and Hong Kong.

Since return home to Clermont County Lees has served two UC presidents – Nancy Zimpher and Santa Ono on projects involving International Affairs and corporate engagement  He has assisted the university in its engagement in China and Japan and worked with UC colleges and students to make links to opportunities in Asia and the Pacific Rim.

After a long career living abroad and in multiple states, Lees returned to his roots in New Richmond – opening the Front Street Cafe as a gathering place for “good people to get together to plan good things for their community and to have fun.”  Lees and his wife Yuko have been married for 44 years and have three sons, three daughter-in-laws and four grandchildren.

UC Clermont College will honor Lees as the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus at the college’s Commencement Celebration on April 29 being held at the Oasis Conference Center in Loveland.

List of previous distinguished alumnus recipients visit:

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