Robert Lee was born and raised in Vancouver’s Chinatown. His father had immigrated from China and had settled in Vancouver, where he opened his own business. Growing up, Robert Lee worked a lot in his father’s shop as a cook, and learned the virtues of hard work. He went to Chinese school and upon graduating high school, he attended the University of British Columbia and graduated from its Sauder School of Business in 1956. Throughout his life, Robert Lee has maintained close ties to the university, and has been highly involved in many aspects of the institution. In 1979, he founded the Prospero International Realty Inc., which has built a strong real estate presence on the west cost of Canada and the United States.
Robert H. Lee is one of the most highly respected businessmen and philanthropists in Canada. Mr. Lee has been extensively involved with the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. He has served as a member of the UBC Board of Governors from 1984 to 1990, and also as the university’s Chancellor from 1993 to 1996. Mr. Lee was also the founding member of the UBC Properties Fund which has generated UBC an estimated 80 million dollars. He is also very involved in community service, and has served as a Director of the Vancouver Foundation and the B.C. Paraplegic Foundation. For Mr. Lee’s extraordinary achievements, he has received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from UBC, the Order of British Columbia, and the Order of Canada.