David Lee ’88, D.V.M. ’94, M.B.A. ’99, joins college as associate dean for external programs

The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has appointed David Lee ’88, D.V.M. ’94, M.B.A. ’99, as the new associate dean for external programs. He assumed this post August 1.

Lee will take a leading role in the Center for Veterinary Business and Entrepreneurship and in the continuing development of the Canine Health Center. The Canine Health Center program and Lee’s appointment were made possible by gifts received from donors — most recently from founding members Don Powell, D.V.M. ’69, and Rita Powell. Lee will also contribute to teaching and expanding course offerings for the business initiative for veterinary students, other degree programs and external audiences.

“I am pleased that Dr. Lee has agreed to return to his alma mater and to contribute to the success of several key goals articulated in the college’s strategic plan,” said Lorin D. Warnick, D.V.M., Ph.D. ’94, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “He brings a wealth of experience as a faculty member and academic leader that will benefit our students, faculty and external audiences.”

Lee is looking forward to guiding some of the college's most trailblazing projects. “I know how important visionary leadership is in helping an organization achieve greatness." Lee said. "Cornell has had extraordinary leadership at the collegiate and university levels over the last several years. That advantage has set this school on a trajectory that would be almost impossible for any other school to achieve. The Center for Veterinary Business and Entrepreneurship (CVBE) is a great example of that vision."

Lee joins CVM from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, where he served as hospital director of one of the nation’s busiest veterinary teaching hospitals since 2006. He held a faculty position as associate professor of veterinary practice management and served as director of career development. In addition, he served as interim chair of their Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. Lee has held positions at CVM in labs and administration, and is an alumnus of three Cornell colleges, including CVM: the SC Johnson College of Business and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

"From my previous working experiences, I learned as much or more from my mistakes as I did from our successes," Lee said. "I've also come to appreciate that developing and maintaining highly functional teams is far more important for success than my expertise in finance and marketing. After many years of my career devoted to advancing practice management and principles of veterinary economics, I still have far more questions than I have answers. I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with colleagues from other disciplines to look at our industry differently and find innovative solutions to new challenges."

Said Warnick, “Dr. Lee’s experience in marketing, communication and public engagement will be valuable as we grow fundraising and support research for college centers. I look forward to working with him.”

Lee comes to Ithaca with fellow Cornellian and wife Michelle '89, whom he married 26 years ago at Sage Chapel. They have two grown children, two "poorly behaved" Chihuahua mixes and a cat. As an avid sailor, Lee is adjusting to Cayuga Lake again after crewing in offshore ocean races for the last two years.

-By Melanie Greaver Cordova