In Memoriam

May 15, 2020

Vivian Lee

Vivian Victoria Lee (née Thompson), a longtime member of the American Counseling Association and wife of ACA Past President Courtland Lee, passed away on May 11.

Born in the Bronx, New York, she was the second child and only daughter of David and Rosemary Thompson. As a child her family moved to Willingboro, New Jersey where she attended the public schools. Upon graduating high school, she attended Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey) where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education. She relocated to Fredericksburg, Virginia where she taught Physical Education in the public schools. She then enrolled in the counseling program at the University of Virginia where she obtained a Masters of Education in Counselor Education. After obtaining her degree she worked as a counselor at Louisa County High School in Mineral, Virginia. While there she commenced work on a Doctor of Education degree at the University of Virginia.

Upon receiving her Ed.D., she accepted a faculty position in Counseling and Human Services at the University of Scranton. After four years she accepted a faculty position in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at Old Dominion University. In 2004 she accepted a position with the National Office for School Counselor Advocacy at The College Board in Washington, D.C. While there she rose to the position of Senior Director of Counselor Advocacy. During this time, she was also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling and Personnel Services at the University of Maryland at College Park. In 2013 she was offered a faculty position as an Associate Professor in the Department of Counselling at the University of Malta. She lived in Europe for two years before returning to the United States as an Associate Professor in the Counseling Program at Johns Hopkins University.

Vivian was an active leader in the counseling profession, serving in many leadership positions both nationally and internationally. She was Chair of the International Committee of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Coordinator of the Social Justice Roundtable of the International Association for Counselling (IAC). She also served as President of the Maryland Association for Counseling and Development (MACD). In addition, was an active member of Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), the International Counseling Honor Society and served as the CSI Chapter Faculty Advisor at the University of Scranton.

Vivian was also an accomplished scholar having published numerous book chapters and journal articles that focused primarily on issues of school counseling and social justice. She was also a much sought after speaker, having done numerous conference presentations and keynote addresses.

One of Vivian’s proudest accomplishments was co-leading a project to build a library for the Tema Royal Preparatory School in Ghana in West Africa. With a colleague she raised funds to build the library and refurbish the school. In gratitude the library was named The Bernice-Vivian Library.

Vivian was a dedicated teacher and professional who was beloved by her students and colleagues. A group of her students best captured her essence: “Her incredible lightness of being, grace and wisdom have created ripples that will span across the globe and lifetimes. It was impossible not to be moved by her passion, love of humanity, and dedication to making the world a better, kinder and gentler place, and we are all eternally grateful to have shared her journey and her vision.”

Vivian is survived by her loving husband Courtland, her brother Billy, sisters-in-law Patty, Deidre and Elva, brother-in-law Larry, and Goddaughter Laura. In addition, she will be missed by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A private mass will be held this month. A Celebration of Life will take place when the world is in a better place.

In lieu of flowers donations are requested to any of the following charities: The American Cancer Society, American Indian College Fund and Tema Royal Preparatory School in Ghana (via check c/o Dr. Bernice Henry 3900 Ford Road, Unit PHS, Philadelphia, PA 19131).


See more in her obituary online.



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