Schlee looks towards the future

Tegan Johnson

When Dr. Regina Schlee received an invitation to teach at Seattle Pacific University, she knew she had to accept.

The recruiting letter was “asking for an assistant professor of marketing who was a Christian, had a Ph.D. and industry experience,” Schlee said, and she knew she fit the bill.

“I thought, ‘Okay, this is a gift from God, and I should not push it away,’” she said. “It was given to me, and I am very grateful.”

Now, after 35 years at SPU, Schlee is ready to let younger professors take the stage.

Schlee, a professor of marketing, has taught marketing in the school of business and economics since 1984, and she plans to retire at the end of this year.

During her time at SPU, Schlee has won numerous awards, including the SBGE Scholar of the Year award, Journal of Marketing Education Outstanding Article of the Year and Marketing Educators’ Association Educator of the Year.

Schlee came to the states from Athens, Greece on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1971. She considers herself very lucky, as that was the last year they gave undergraduate students that scholarship.

She went on to Washington State University for her graduate studies with her husband, who she met her senior year in undergrad.

“After getting a Ph.D., you have two ways you can go,” Schlee explained. She said one can go into industry, or become a professor.

Schlee managed to take both paths; first, she worked in industry, as a marketing research director for several years in Bellevue. Later, she was invited to work as a professor at SPU.

Schlee has taught various marketing classes at SPU over her 35 years on campus, including marketing research, international marketing and managerial marketing. However, she said the class she will miss most was not a marketing class.

Dr. Schlee is retiring after a 36 year career at SPU | Tegan Johnson, The Falcon

“I miss teaching consumer behavior the most,” Schlee said. “I think it’s the most fun part of marketing, trying to understand what people will do in a given situation.”

Schlee really appreciates her time at SPU, and she says nothing compares to the academic life.

“There’s nothing like working here,” Schlee said. “The faculty are amazing, the staff are amazing, the students are excellent. It’s not just the academics, but I think the overall positive attitude that they have in class.”

Once she retires, Schlee says she plans to publish a marketing textbook. Several years ago, she was approached by Jones and Bartlett Learning. When the publishing company decided to switch their focus, they gave Schlee the copyright to the textbook they were working on with her.

She plans to finish up those chapters to make a full textbook, then self-publish on Amazon.

“That’s my little academic project that I intend to pursue,” Schlee said.

Schlee is happy that she will now have more time to work on this project, and because she already has seven chapters written, she intends to use them in a meaningful way.

Schlee’s other retirement plans including traveling with her husband, who is also retired. They want to visit all of the National Parks, see the autumn foliage of New England and travel through Central Europe.

Finally, Schlee is sad to be leaving SPU, but she recognizes that it is time for her to move on and let other professors teach.

“I think it’s important for new people to come in,” she said. “I think students identify more with younger professors than older professors.”

Schlee has come to this realization over the years. She noticed that, as she got older, she stopped receiving wedding invitations, and student no longer call her by her first name.

She misses that she no longer has as close of a relationship with her students, but she is excited that newer, younger professors will be able to connect with students.

“I think it’s time to have some new faculty, new ideas,” Schlee explained. “They can bond with the students! I’ve worked enough.”