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Drew Family Ties: The Lee Family

“I cannot believe the trees on Drew’s campus still stand there and bless me as they did for my family in the 1990’s”

November 2022 – When Korean international student Jene Lee T’23 decided to earn his Master of Divinity, the logical choice was Drew Theological School.


The Lee family on the Drew campus in the early 1990's

Lee’s father, Jeha Lee T’95, also attended Drew, earning a Master of Sacred Theology while Lee was just a child. “When I was six years old, I remembered a wooded street full of green trees,” said Lee. “I cannot believe trees now still stand there and bless me as they did for my family in the 1990s.”

Drew has a long history of welcoming Korean students. “In my language, Drew Theological School is historically formed, trained, and prepared to welcome international students,” said Lee. “It is one of the beautiful traditions of which Drew can be proud.”

“Drew Theological School is well known for its inclusiveness to others,” said Lee, who is known as a “Drew baby” by many South Korean pastors and professors.

We talked to Lee about his Drew family history, and his many reasons for continuing his Drew legacy.

Why did you decide to continue the legacy and enroll at Drew?
I mentioned Drew as my first home in my application essay. It was not only the decision to continue my legacy but also to remember my hometown. Drew is now more well known for its progressive and radical commitment to marginalized people. It could be different from my father’s interest at the time. However, legacy is not only continued by simple acceptance but also by transformation. It was my decision, and I am grateful for Drew Theological School’s continued history that depends on my story.

Tell us about your experience at Drew.
Seminary is the place of the academy. It is where students study. When I question how seminarians study, Drew is the place that answers my expectations. It is the place of formation through meaningful conversations with colleagues and professors, of information through professional academic seminars, and of transformation through our spiritual solidarity and care. My office at the Korean Student Caucus from 2021-22 allowed me to work for Korean students and the school, and I took it as a chance for me to love Drew even deeper.

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to apply for the PhD program at Drew’s Graduate Division of Religion. I very much enjoyed the deep tradition of Asian theologians of Drew, such as David Suh, Jungyong Lee, and Hyo-Dong Lee. It is my goal to research the possibility of the dialogue between Asian theologies and Western theologies in our contemporary world by reflecting on the context of Asian communities, such as racism, sexism, imperialism, etc.