Dr. Lee Engel and his wife, Jan, are the proud parents of two daughters, Alexa and Savannah. Lee, an Eagle Scout, graduated from Fulton High School in Fulton, Kentucky, and began his college years at Murray State University. In college, he was an officer of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Active in student politics, he served as class officer, vice president of the student government, and president of the student government assembly. Interested in writing, he was an editor of his college yearbook. After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Engel entered the University Of Kentucky College Of Dentistry. He graduated in the top of his class with a doctorate in dental medicine and was the recipient of the Mosby Scholarship Award. He then accepted a commission with the United States Air Force Dental Corp as a Captain, and practiced general dentistry at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Dr. Engel entered the specialty program of orthodontics at St. Louis University, chaired by Lyle Johnson, one of the leading eminent 20th century orthodontic educators. At St. Louis University, Dr. Engel graduated with a masters of science in orthodontics cum laude, graduating number one in his Orthodontic class. However, his most prized honor was the J.P. Marshall Award given by the university faculty only when a resident was first in both clinical, as well as academics.
Dr. Engel is a certified diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. A special honor Dr. Engel received from the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics was that he was asked to teach a course for young orthodontists trying to attain diplomate status.
Dr. Engel is a three-time past president of the Greenville Dental Society and served as president of the District II Dental Society of the Mississippi Dental Association. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the Southern Association of Orthodontists, and the American Association of Orthodontists. He was elected to the American Association of Orthodontists’ governing body, the House of Delegates, and served as Mississippi's representative for eight years. He was awarded Fellowship in the American College of Dentists.
Dr. Engel's practice has grown from one office to three offices known throughout the Delta as Engel Orthodontics. An active member of St. James' Episcopal Church, Dr. Engel served on the Vestry, as Stewardship Chairman, as leader of the Episcopal Young Churchmen for 5 years, and as a Sunday school teacher for 12 years. Dr. Engel served as an officer for two years and president of the Washington School PTO and raises funds annually for the school.
As a board member of the philanthropic King's Daughters and Sons Circle #2, Dr. Engel assisted in the development of the Circle's grant criteria and worked in grant evaluation with the group. He is a member of the E. E. Bass Steering Committee, as well as a member of the Greenville Rotary club and a Paul Harris Fellow. Dr. Engel also served as a board member, officer, and president of the Greenville Symphony Association.
Dr. Engel's main service platform is the Delta Children's Museum. Under Dr. Engel's leadership, the museum presents 5 to 6 projects per year for our area youth. Ever mindful of the need for the arts in our public, as well as private schools, Dr. Engel and board members, have since 1977 brought countless programs, exhibits, hands-on-learning events, and visual learning experiences to our youth. The vast majority of all projects were free or at a reduced cost to our Delta children.
During the first years with the museum, Dr. Engel, recognized that local art dollars were limited, and he developed a talent for grant writing. The Delta Children's Museum began receiving grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Southern Arts Federation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Dr. Engel also wrote grants for the Greenville Symphony, which provided over half of their budget revenue for many years.
The Delta Children's Museum continued to expand its scope bringing innovative projects to the Delta. In the year 2000, the museum under Dr. Engel's guidance received the Greenville Arts Council Special Achievement Award for "Color Play," the hands-on traveling museum about color housed in the E. E. Bass gym and visited by over 12,000 young people from across the Delta. In 2013 the musuem presented "Predators" and in 2016, under Dr. Engel's direction, DCM presented "SCIENCE + YOU," Khol Children's Museum of Chicago's 2,000 sq ft science musuem.
In late 2004, under Lee's guidance, the Delta Children's Museum took on its most ambitious project to date—the restoration of the 1901 Armitage Hershell Carousel. After acquiring ownership of the carousel, Dr. Engel began a large fundraising effort which culminated in the return of the 105-year-old Greenville treasure fully restored and now placed in a controlled indoor environment in the Delta Children's Museum Pavilion in E. E. Bass Cultural Arts Center. Under Dr. Engel's direction of this community effort, the carousel opened to the public in February 2007.
In 2008, Dr. Engel was the recipient of "the Lifetime Achievement Award" for community service. Over the last 33 years, Dr. Engel's grant writing achievements and the gift of his time and energy have made a dramatic impact on the accessibility to the arts for all people in the Mississippi Delta.