Lee Bagan Endowment

Jun 9, 2008 | Excellence Funds & Program Support

Lee BaganThroughout his time at The University of Texas at Austin, Lee Bagan was a staunch advocate for disabled students, serving on the President’s Committee for Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility and the Austin Mayor’s Committee for Disability Policy.

While a student at the University, Lee spearheaded efforts to raise money for economically underprivileged disabled students. He worked to ensure that students with cognitive disabilities got the help they needed to succeed in college. Lee launched a letter-writing campaign and spoke to student organizations. Before long, with the help of the University’s Department of Disability and Access, he raised $25,000. At the department’s insistence, the fully funded endowment was named the Lee Bagan Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2008. As of 2024, the fund is valued at more than $100,000. Income from the fund helps financially underprivileged students pay for the psychological testing they need to access federal educational benefits. The endowment has provided resources to dozens of deserving students deeply in need of financial support.

Lee knows firsthand how difficult school can be for someone facing a learning disability, which he has done since adolescence. Despite his challenges, he graduated in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree he completed in just three years and earned his master’s degree in 2007.

After graduation, Lee served as a U.S. Army Special Forces Officer (Green Beret). In 15 years of service, he deployed extensively, including 18 months to Iraq, 13 months to Afghanistan, and 7 months to the Syrian-Lebanese border region. His overseas tours include deployments with both Navy SEAL Teams and Army Special Forces units.

Lee on a Special Forces assignment at an undisclosed overseas location, holding a care package sent by UT Austin alumni
Lee on a Special Forces assignment at an undisclosed overseas location, holding a care package sent by UT Austin alumni
In 2018, U.S. Special Operations Command provided him unique authorization to enroll at Stanford University to pursue both a law degree and a Ph.D. while in uniform. He applied to Stanford while on a combat deployment and remains the only student ever to graduate from Stanford Law School in only two years.
Lee Bagan speaking to a military unit.<br />
Lee, left, speaking to a military unit in Ramadi, Iraq
Due to his Special Forces service as well as his legal and doctoral training, Lee maintains unique experience at the intersection of geopolitics, economics, law and finance. After retiring from the military, he began work in the financial technology industry.

In addition to his military awards, Lee has been honored with the Key to the City of his hometown, Highland Park, Illinois, as well as the Outstanding Young Texas Exes Award, presented to him by the President of The University of Texas at Austin in 2012.

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