Fue Lee ’13 to present 2018 Honors Convocation

May 21, 2018

Hmong American community organizer and member of the Minnesota House of Representatives Fue Lee, Carleton Class of 2013, will present the college’s annual Honors Convocation on Friday, May 25 at 3 p.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. 

A cherished Carleton tradition, Honors Convocation draws the campus community together to celebrate the academic accomplishments of Carleton students and faculty. The event begins and ends with a full academic procession, including emeriti faculty, and honors students and recipients of awards and grants. Following remarks by President Steven Poskanzer, Dean of the College Beverly Nagel and Dean of Students Carolyn Livingston, Lee will speak to the assembled audience. 

Honors Convocation is free and open to the public; the event will also be recorded and archived for online viewing

Elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2016, Lee is the first person of color and Asian descent to represent Minneapolis in the Minnesota House, and the fourth Hmong American elected to a state legislature. Lee's presentation will represent a culmination of his experiences as an activist and community organizer, an engaged student at Carleton, and a state politician.

Lee was born in a refugee camp in Thailand to Hmong parents from Laos. Before he was even a year old, his family immigrated to the United States in 1992 where they faced the difficult task of navigating life in a new country, eventually settling in Minnesota.

As a student at Carleton, Lee was active in the Coalition of Hmong Students and other campus organizations. He was awarded a Multicultural Alumni Network (MCAN) Scholarship in his junior year, which supported his internship with the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARC). The next year, he was awarded the Technos International Prize, which is given each year to a graduating senior for outstanding academic achievement and a commitment to furthering the cause of international understanding. Lee also had the opportunity to work with Congressman Keith Ellison on housing issues in Minneapolis which inspired him to consider a role in public service, helping to ensure that many more first-generation Americans would have an opportunity to realize their American dream.

After graduating from Carleton in 2013 with a BA in political science and international relations, Lee joined the DFL legislative staff at the Minnesota House of Representatives where he helped organize the Hmong and Lao community to secure funds for the Hmong-Lao memorial. In addition, he worked to pass legislation to make healthcare more accessible for underrepresented communities, and to enact Steve's Law which brought law enforcement and the community together to provide immunity to those who call 911 in good faith. He also supported the Women's Economic Security Act to promote equal pay for equal work, strengthen workplace protections for women—including pregnant women and new mothers—and help women learn skills in high-wage jobs where women are underrepresented.

Encouraged by community leaders, Lee ran for public office and in November 2016 was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives from District 59A (Minneapolis). Lee is the first person of color and the first Asian-American to represent his urban district in Minneapolis, and only the fourth Hmong-American to serve in a state legislature nationwide. Lee’s vision includes safer and stronger neighborhoods, educational equality, more inclusive government, and economic justice for working families.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located at First and College Streets in Northfield.