January 7, 2020
To: Members of the University Community
From: Robert J. Zimmer
Subject: Ka Yee C. Lee Appointed Provost
Date: January 7, 2020
I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Ka Yee C. Lee, Professor in the Department of Chemistry, the James Franck Institute, the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, and the College, and Vice Provost for Research, as Provost of the University of Chicago starting February 1, 2020. Ka Yee succeeds Daniel Diermeier, who will remain senior advisor to the president from February 1 to June 30, before he becomes chancellor at Vanderbilt University.
Ka Yee joined the University in 1998 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and was appointed full professor in 2008. She has served as the Director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, as Associate Director of the James Franck Institute, and has been Vice Provost for Research since 2018. As Vice Provost, Ka Yee has worked with deans, faculty, and researchers across the University to increase access to research funding, among other responsibilities. In addition, Ka Yee is the Chair of the Faculty Advisory Board for The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong. She has played a lead role in the University’s activities and partnerships there over the past five years, including the opening of the new facility.
Ka Yee brings to her position as provost deep and broad experiences at the University, the ability to bring people of varied disciplines and perspectives together, and a clear understanding of the University’s values of academic excellence and rigorous open inquiry.
Ka Yee’s research focus lies in the area of membrane biophysics, and she is the author or co-author of more than 125 scholarly publications. She is an elected member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a fellow of the American Physical Society. She was a Searle Scholar, a David and Lucile Packard Fellow for Science and Engineering, and a Sloan Research Fellow. She was the recipient of the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and the inaugural recipient of the Arthur L. Kelly Prize for Exceptional Faculty Service in the Physical Sciences Division.
Ka Yee completed her Sc.B. degree in in electrical engineering at Brown University, her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in applied physics at Harvard University, and did her postdoctoral training at Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In the coming weeks, Ka Yee will be meeting with faculty across the University and working closely with the deans and vice presidents as she begins her transition to this new role.
Please join me in congratulating Ka Yee and welcoming her to this new role.