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Wanda Lee of WMU receives Samford Univ. alumni honor

BIRMINGHAM (BP)–The top executive of the million-member Southern Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union, has received the 2004 Alumni of the Year award from Samford University along with retired business executive Marvin Mann.

A 1969 Samford nursing graduate, Lee served as president of WMU from 1996 to 2000 when she was named to her current post as executive director. She is the first woman in WMU history to hold both positions.

Lee has been active at all levels of WMU — church, association, state and national. Early in her career, she worked as a registered nurse in hospitals in Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama and the Windward Islands, where she and her husband, Larry, were missionaries from 1979-81. WMU, an auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention, employs about 115 staff members at its Birmingham headquarters and has more than a million members of all ages in Baptist churches worldwide.

“As CEO of the premier woman’s missionary support organization in America, Wanda Lee applies all the sensitivity and care she learned as a nurse and nurse administrator to the promotion of missions,” Samford President Thomas E. Corts said. “In our diverse world, hers is an extremely important task and she fulfills it with a warm, genuine Christian spirit.”

Lee, a native of Russellville, Ala., and her husband live in Birmingham. Their daughter, Allison Lee Dearing, and son, Matthew, also are Samford graduates.

Mann, a 1954 Samford business graduate, served as chairman from Lexmark’s founding in 1991 until 1999, and was chief executive officer for most of those years. Lexmark is a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of printing solutions to consumers in offices and homes in more than 150 countries. A former IBM vice president with 32 years as an executive with the company, the Birmingham native was instrumental in the formation of Lexmark, which reached nearly $4.8 billion in revenue worldwide in 2003.

Samford University is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist Convention.

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