Reginald (Reggie) Van Lee ’79, SM ’80
Retired Executive Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
43rd Annual MLK Leadership Award
Reginald (Reggie) Van Lee '79, SM '80, is a philanthropist, an arts advocate, and retired Executive Vice President of the global management and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. He was appointed by President Obama to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and was formerly appointed by President Obama to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Reggie is the co-author of the book Megacommunities: How Leaders of Government, Business and Non-Profits Can Tackle Today’s Global Challenges Together (St. Martin's Press, 2008). He holds SB and SM degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT and an MBA from the Harvard Business School (HBS); and he has been named one of the 25 most influential consultants in the world.
MIT has been the recipient of Reggie’s strong leadership and service in many ways, from co-chairing reunion gift committees and serving on the Corporation Development Committee (CDC), the Alumni Fund Board and the Alumni Selection Committee; to serving as an Education Counselor (EC); to serving two terms each on the Library Visiting Committee and the MIT Council for the Arts.
As written by submitter and 2005 Leadership awardeeJames Banks ’76: "BAMIT (Black Alumni/ae Of MIT) has been the vehicle through which a large number of Black alumni have maintained or sometimes established their ongoing connection with MIT. Reggie stepped up at a time when BAMIT’s resources were scarce, and the organization’s ability to continue its missions of outreach, advocacy and undergraduate support was in jeopardy. The fundraiser for which BAMIT received the 2013 MIT Alumni Association Great Dome Award was a Sold Out success because of Reggie. He was generous in offering his NYC apartment as the venue. Reggie provided for the catering, plus initiated a matching funds challenge, all of which enabled BAMIT to raise approximately $20,000, far exceeding its goal. Many Black alumni have since assumed significant class and/or MIT Alumni Association (MITAA) positions, and the ongoing success and viability of BAMIT has been critical to that pipeline.
"When BAMIT formed an initiative to investigate the steady decline in Black undergraduate enrollment, Reggie engaged fellow Corporation members and partnered with BAMIT to raise the level of awareness and importance of this issue to senior administration at MIT. He personally met with President Reif and members of his executive team to review data and discuss causalities. As a result of the joint work of BAMIT and the subgroup that Reggie formed, there has been a staffing change that supports greater direct involvement of BAMIT in the admissions process. Concurrently a change was made in the financial aid formula for ALL students which addressed a long-standing middle-class parent financial means issue. Together with other work done by the admissions office, the result was an increase in the percentage of Blacks enrolled in the freshman class, increasing from 7% in 2013 to 11% in 2014.
"BAMIT would not hold the high level of influence it has today without Reggie’s involvement. He has not just led people to support his causes. Reggie has brought people to adopting critical issues as their causes, expanding their range of involvement and commitment. He has been a catalyst, an enabler, and a role model who has caused others to get involved and to assume positions of leadership."
Thank you, Mr. Van Lee, for your sustained service and contributions to the Arts and our youth.