Karen Lee

2023-24 Aspen Presidents Fellow
Karen C. Lee is chancellor of Honolulu Community College in the University of Hawaii system. She previously served as the college’s interim chancellor and vice chancellor of academic affairs.

Before joining the Honolulu Community College leadership team in 2017, Karen served as the executive director of Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, which works to strengthen the education pipeline from early childhood through higher education so all students achieve career and college success. She also has served as associate vice president for student affairs for the UH System, responsible for systemwide student affairs policies and student-related initiatives. Karen has been executive assistant to the UH president, undergraduate coordinator at UH Mānoa’s Shidler College of Business, and in dean and director positions at Columbia and Colgate universities.

In 2012, Karen was selected to join the inaugural class of Omidyar Fellows, a program developed to inspire and equip emerging leaders with the skills needed to affect positive, lasting change in Hawaii. In 2009, she was chosen as a Pacific Business News “Forty Under 40” honoree. She currently serves on the advisory board of the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders and the Honolulu Mayor’s Senior Advisory Group.

Karen has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s in higher education administration from Columbia University, and a doctorate in education from the University of Southern California.