From 'poor boy' to bank executive to LSU Foundation chief; G. Lee Griffin dead at 84
BATON ROUGE — G. Lee Griffin, a self-described "poor boy" who later became the longest-serving member of the LSU Foundation's board of directors, has died. He was 84.
The longtime bank executive served four years as the foundation's president and was affiliated with dozens of organizations in and around Baton Rouge.
“Lee Griffin was an exceptional leader, friend, and donor," Rob Stuart, the current president and CEO of the LSU Foundation, said in a statement. "In all ways, he was generous and kind. He will be greatly missed, and his legacy of impact and excellence will continue at LSU and throughout our community. It was our great honor to be part of Lee’s life.”
Griffin said he was grateful to LSU for its admitting him to its graduate school, and noted he used his own experience as a means to seek donors for Louisiana's flagship institution of higher education.
"I would tell them my story of how a poor boy was able to succeed due to the contributions of our alumni," he said in an Q&A posted on the LSU Foundation website. "I would share real life stories of how donations provided opportunities to students — opportunities that led to successful careers in business, government, education, the arts, and more.
Griffin served as foundation president from July 2011 to April 2015, and held a number of other roles with the university's philanthropy arm. He was a retired chairman and CEO of Bank One of Louisiana (now Chase) after holding a number of executive positions at its predecessors — Louisiana National Bank and Premier Bancorp/Premier Bank.
Griffin was born Sept. 19, 1938, in Leavenworth, Kansas, and had a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's in economics and finance from LSU. He is a past winner of the Golden Deeds civic duty award (2012).
He and his wife Elizabeth Barrett Lobdell had three children: Lee, Bill, and Beth.
A cause of death was not immediately released.
According to the LSU Foundation Q&A, Griffin said the university provided a big boost for his career when it accepted him for graduate school.
"LSU financed my graduate education and put me in a place to succeed in business. And it gave me my wife of 57 years!" he said.
Griffin served in leadership roles or on the boards of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Boy Scouts of America, Louisiana and American bankers associations, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication and University Laboratory School Foundation, among others. He served as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and carried the Olympic torch in Baton Rouge in 1996.
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