NEW HAVEN, CONN.: Ming Cho Lee, the Donald M. Oenslager Professor Adjunct of Design, will leave Yale School of Drama after the fall semester of 2017. At the time of his departure, he will have taught full-time at the School of Drama for 48 1/2 years, 34 of which he served as chair or co-chair of the design department.
“Ming’s retirement is epochal in the history of the School—as many of you know, he came to Yale in 1969, and in 1970, succeeded Donald Oenslager, who was the first Chair of Design here,” said James Bundy, dean of the Yale School of Drama, in a statement. “Since that time, Ming has trained more designers, including leaders in the profession and in conservatories around the world, than anyone else in history, all while conducting his own distinguished career as one of the most influential stage designers of the 20th Century.”
Lee has designed more than 300 shows worldwide, including Broadway and Off-Broadway, and dance and opera productions. During his tenure at Yale, Lee established a convening called the “Clambake,” which brings young designers from leading training programs together. His designs have been shown in retrospectives at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Yale School of Architecture. In 2014, TCG published “Ming Cho Lee: A Life in Design” featuring his work.
He is the recipient of the National Medal of the Arts, and has won two Tony Awards. Other accolades include an Outer Critics Circle award, Drama Desk Awards, and the TCG Practitioner Award. He holds five honorary degrees, and is a member of the Theater Hall of Fame.