The Life of Patrick J. Lee “Role Models” by Kenny Umeh

ImageKenny Umeh

AFRS 130 T





For My Black Elder Recognition project I interviewed an African American Male by the name of Patrick J. Lee. Patrick was born in Pampa, Texas and raised in Pocola, Oklahoma in a predominately white community with a population of about 3,500 people. His father was black and his mother was white, but he was adopted by a black family from an all white family at the age of 5 years old.  Patrick was raised around elders and was pushed to participate in a plethora of activities at a young age such as sports, music, also playing 13 instruments, church choir, oratory speech contests, and much more. Growing up Patrick spent most of his time around adults, which forced him to be a leader in all his ways. Recently he found his first white family on his mom’s side about seven to eight months ago, I compare Patrick Lee to Malcolm X because his whole life he dealt with a separation of identity being the only black child in his immediate family but adopted from an African American family shortly after his fifth birthday. Mr. Lee contributed to the community all his life and was a role model for young black men like me all around and that’s why I chose to focus on this man for my course project. Some contributions that stood out to me were things like speaking in classes around the country, He founded the first NAACP Chapter atIdahoStateUniversity, Started leading student body marches and received The Parent of the Year Award at his Daughters school inClovislast year.


 Patrick Lee, a former college athlete with both collegiate and professional athletics experience, joined the Hilton Garden Inn Clovis (California) in January of 2010 as the Senior Director of Sales, Marketing & Revenue Management after serving the previous year as the Associate General Manager with Bulldog Sports Properties at Fresno State and the previous three and a half years as the Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs for the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Department of Athletics.


Lee was recently recognized in 2008 as one of InSpire Magazine’s Top 40 Inspirers in America, and in 2007 as one of “Alaska’s Top Forty Under 40” professionals within the state of Alaska. He was awarded the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s (CCHA) Most Outstanding Marketing Campaign of the Year Award in both 2007 and 2006. He was recognized with six awards (two gold, two silver & two bronze) in 2009, nine awards (three gold, one silver & five bronze) in 2008, three awards (one silver & two bronze) in 2007 and five awards (one gold, two silver & two bronze) in 2006 by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) at their national conventions (23 Total National Awards).  Lee also received the UAF Chancellor’s Diversity Award in 2007 and earned membership into who’s whom amongAmerica’s Teachers and Educators, the Golden Key International Honour Society, Pi Lambda Theta International Honor Society, Who’s Who among Executives and Professionals and Cambridge Who’s who.


Lee currently serves as the Area G1 Governor for District 33 Toastmasters and a member of theEast FresnoRotary Club.  Prior to joining the Hilton Garden Inn Clovis, Lee served on the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board, as Vice President for the J.P. Jones Community Development Center Board of Directors, on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Fairbanks Area, a member of the Co-Commander program for the 354th Fighter Wing (Eielson Air Force Base), a member of the Board of Directors for the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation of Fairbanks, on the Board of Advisors and Co-Advisor for the UAF Golden Key International Honour Society and performed numerous speaking engagements each year.  He had also served on the UAF Vision Task Force committee, UAF Vice Chancellor’s Advancement and Community Engagement Advisory Council and the Board of Directors for the Fairbanks Golden Heart Rotary Club.  He is also a member of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators, Minority Opportunities Athletic Association, Black Coaches & Administrators, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Mt. Hermit Masonic Lodge #35. 


In his first two years with the Alaska Nanooks at UAF, the Pocola,Oklahomanative implemented new marketing and promotional concepts, some of which earned him conference and national awards, and increased sponsorship revenues over 45%. He created the Junior Nanooks Club, which had over 95 youth members in its first year, and the Nanook Fund, which is the primary fundraising extension of the athletics department. Lee came to California after Alaska, by way of Tallahassee, Florida, where he owned E&E Consulting and Management Services, serving as the Director of Team Operations for the Jacksonville Wave, an American Basketball Association Team, and serving as Project Director for vending and concessions services for Florida A&M University (FAMU) Athletics.


Lee previously worked atFloridaA&MUniversityin 2003-04 as the Executive Director of the FAMU Boosters Club, Inc. and in 1999-2000 as the Director of Sports Marketing. He also has served as a Sports Marketing Specialist for Daktronics, and worked as Vice President for Marketing and Sales for Davis Group International. He also has been a co-owner of the Florida Blaze, a semi-professional basketball team which featured Roy Jones Jr., and a corporate marketing intern for the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) TOUR.


While a graduate student at Idaho State University (ISU) inPocatello,Idaho, Lee interned under ISU athletic director Irv Cross, a former sports anchor for CBS Sports, who encouraged him to pursue a career in athletics administration. Lee is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in sport administration (PhD) fromFloridaStateUniversity, inTallahassee,Florida, with a 3.52 GPA. He completed a master’s degree in physical education/athletic administration and a bachelor’s degree in speech communications fromIdahoStateUniversityinPocatello,Idaho, along with an associate’s degree in secondary education from Carl Albert State College (CASC) inPoteau,Oklahoma.


Lee played junior college basketball from 1992-94 at CASC and was the Vikings’ 1994 Player of the Year, earning All-Conference Honors. He is the 1994 Tri-State Junior College Slam Dunk Champion forArkansas,KansasandOklahoma, and was a top ten selection for theArkansas,Kansasand Oklahoma Junior College All-Star Game. He then competed in basketball for the Idaho State University Bengals from 1994-96 and track from 1994-97. He ranks seventh at ISU in three-point field goal percentage, earned All-Big Sky Conference Honors as a high jumper (and student-athlete) and was a member of the 1997 Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship Team.


When I was in the middle of interviewing Patrick Lee I already sensed that his life contributed to the argument that black males are not limited to stereotypes that plague black men in the media. In media the black male race is put into a category of laziness, criminal minds, and uneducated. Just sitting with Patrick and observing his demeanor and diction already tossed him out of the category of black males in media. I learned a great amount of information spending time with Mr. Lee at the Hilton Hotel. Listening to him speak reminded me of my father which is not by my side anymore so I took in as much information as I could. Overtime I noticed that Patrick Lee somewhat of myself, we have similarities such as the Sports Administration major, raised in church, both long jumped and triple jumped at a collegiate level, and is a member of the fraternity I will one day be a part of. Seeing that, I took the interview more seriously and as an opportunity to learn some advice from a role model. He quoted “You always have a second chance to do it right the first time” which he explained meant utilize your resources, find someone that already did what you want to do in your future and ask them how they got there, their mistakes wont be your mistakes. That statement stood out to me because I just so happened to be interviewing someone that already did what I would like to do in life. We then discussed theoretical frameworks and paradigms, which are your personal views on how you see the world. The interview lasted about two hours and in that period of time I soaked up as much information as I could. We then went on to discuss failure and success and how it is dealt with, Patrick told me don’t punish yourself for mistakes because they already happened but instead keep walking because success comes through failure. He elaborated saying it’s not the mistakes you make, but how you deal with the mistakes you make. The last advice he gave me was about educating eyes. He said Exposure is key, because without seeing on your own you will always be blind to what is actually happening. Patrick gave me many tips to take with me and completely satisfied me when I ended the interview by asking him for some advice as a young black male and a student. After he dropped me off at the school and I finish speaking with Mr. Lee I felt an urge of motivation to strive for success in life, talking to him changed my views for the better and I would recommend everyone to speak to this man, I appreciated his time and effort and everything we discussed. And this project was useful to me in many ways.




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