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World-renowned forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee retires from University of New Haven

Throughout his career, Dr. Lee has assisted in the investigations of more than 8,000 criminal cases, including the O.J. Simpson case

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The University of New Haven announced the retirement of Dr. Henry Lee Tuesday morning. 

Since joining the University of New Haven in 1975, Dr. Lee helped build the university’s forensic science program from a small classroom equipped with a single fingerprint kit into an internationally recognized multi-disciplined academic department considered one of the nation’s best.   

“Few individuals have had such a lasting influence on the trajectory of a field as significant and groundbreaking as forensic science or on the reputation and success of an institution as Dr. Lee has had,” said University of New Haven President Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D. “He has enhanced the lives of an immeasurable number of our students, experts in the field, and those seeking the justice they and their families deserve. 

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“Dr. Lee has indicated to me that he feels the time is right for him to take a step back to enable the university’s next generation of forensic science professors to step to the forefront,” continued President Kaplan. “This is the type of incredibly kind and humbling gesture that he has become known for throughout his distinguished tenure at the university. 

“I have long marveled at Dr. Lee’s unrivaled ability to take a very complex, very scientific field and make it accessible, enjoyable, and something people genuinely strive to understand,” added President Kaplan. “He is an expert practitioner, passionate educator, gifted scholar, and selfless ambassador. Above all, my wife, Anemone, and I are proud to call Dr. Lee a dear friend.” 

Throughout his career, Dr. Lee has assisted in the investigations of more than 8,000 criminal cases, including the O.J. Simpson case, the review of the John F. Kennedy assassination, and the death of JonBenet Ramsey.  

He previously served as chief criminalist for the state of Connecticut and director of the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory. In 1998, he was appointed as commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Public Safety and the State Police. After his second retirement in 2000, he was appointed chief emeritus for the state’s Division of Scientific Services. 

“In a word, Dr. Lee is a ‘pioneer’ in the field of forensic science,” said Mario Gaboury, J.D., Ph.D., interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs and the former dean of the Lee College. “He has dedicated his life to applying science to seek the truth and justice for individuals who have endured unspeakable tragedies. His commitment to his students and to the field is second to none. While he is retiring, his legacy will live on and with his Emeritus status he has assured us that he will continue to support the university and our students.”  

Dr. Lee will continue to serve in an advisory capacity and will assist in teaching, generating funding, and promoting the Lee Institute and the University of New Haven around the globe. 

“The remarkable impact Dr. Lee has had is embodied in the scores of individuals he has trained throughout his esteemed career,” said David Schroeder, Ph.D., acting dean of the Lee College. “He is a gifted and passionate educator and a brilliant scientist who has an uncanny ability to solve the most difficult cases. The influence he has had on his students and the field of forensic science truly is unmatched.” 

“On behalf of the entire university community, those he has educated, and the countless lives he has impacted in such a profound way, I extend my deepest thanks to Dr. Lee for all he has done and offer my heartiest congratulations for an extraordinary career and a richly deserved retirement,” said President Kaplan.

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