William F. Lee has been elected as the first Asian American member of the Harvard board of trustees.
Lee, a Philadelphia-born son of Chinese immigrants who came to the United States in 1948, was named one of the 50 most influential minority lawyers in the United States in 2008 by the National Law Journal.
“I grew up at a time when being Chinese was a little bit harder than it is today,’’ he said. “My parents came to the US when Chinese could not become naturalized citizens.’’
He said he recalled sitting with his parents when they bought their first house and waiting anxiously to learn whether they would be accepted by the neighborhood association.
“My father once told me to be proud that you are Chinese and don’t forget it, because nobody else ever will,’’ he said.