Lee Jaffe Commons, A2240

This space is officially named in gratitude of the generosity of Deborah Jaffe Sandroff ’74 and Marc Sandroff.


Lee Jaffe was a woman of great passions and deeply felt beliefs. Hers was a life of education, theater, music, politics, and laughter. It is hoped that her spirit, values, and energy will inspire the students who frequent the Lee Jaffe Commons for many years to come.

Lee was the daughter of immigrants and attended Roosevelt University, where she met her husband, Nathan Jaffe. They were active in theater and progressive politics, committed to principles of equality and making a better world. 

Lee taught children in South Chicago and Pilsen, many recently arrived from Mexico. She was honored with an award for meritorious service to the community and in the early 1970s, she served as a team leader for Teacher Corps mentoring student teachers in curriculum development and community issues. During this time she received a M.Ed.

Even with a busy schedule teaching and raising three children, she found time for folk dancing, election volunteering, and anti-war protests—often with her children beside her. After retiring, Lee participated in Elderhostels and found a new outlet for creative energies in a theater troupe that produced and performed revues focused on family and senior issues. 

In 2008, she realized that winter was in fact optional and moved to Tucson, where Deborah, Marc, and granddaughter Mara lived. She soon joined a barbershop quartet led by a retired professor of biology named Harry Thompson. They fell deeply in love, confirming the resilience of love at any age. Lee passed away in 2016.