TROY - Each day, students and visitors to the Troy Campus pass by a building bearing his name - the McDowell Lee Natatorium. But the impact Charles McDowell Lee had on Troy University goes far beyond that.
The 1950 TROY graduate and former secretary of the Alabama Senate passed away on April 17 at the age of 89, and he is being remembered as a "giant" for his service to his alma mater.
Lee served as president of the TROY Alumni Association from 1964 to 1966, and was appointed to the University's first Board of Trustees.
"McDowell Lee was a giant in state government and at Troy University," said TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. "He was an active alumnus and former trustee, having been appointed to our first Board of Trustees which was established during the administration of Gov. Lurleen Wallace in 1967. A World War II veteran, Mr. Lee returned to campus often - and was always 'present and accounted for' when the World War II vets met in reunion. The world is a better place because of McDowell Lee - and so is Troy University."
In 2000, Lee was honored with the University's first Distinguished Leadership Award.
"He was a proud graduate of Troy University," said Faith Ward, Director of Alumni Affairs. "As a former president and board member, his service to the University and his pride in his alma mater were beyond measure. I will miss him and I know he will be greatly missed by the entire TROY family."
Lee was elected Secretary of the Senate in 1963 and held the position continuously until his retirement in 2010, making him the nation's longest serving legislative secretary. Before turning to politics, Lee served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and was a special agent of the FBI.
He served one term as mayor of Clio, and served in the State House of Representatives from 1954 to 1962 before beginning his long tenure in the Senate.