Weisel Family Commons, S1338

This space is officially named in gratitude of the generosity of Lee ’62 and JoAnn Weisel.


Lee Weisel ’62 loved Grinnell College and valued the friends and experiences it gave him. He took pride that he was Grinnell's first comparative literature major. He served for many years as the 1963 Class Agent and on the Alumni Council, until health issues forced him to stop. He believed strongly in making Grinnell a diverse community, including funding scholarships to improve diversity. He was concerned about student debt and regularly encouraged the administration to decrease the debt burden on graduating seniors.

Originally from Chicago, Lee came to Grinnell as a transfer student from RPI (NY). He was an active Grinnellian - involved with SGA, Young Democrats and International Relations Club. Lee was the first Grinnellian to be admitted to Yale Law School and received his law degree in 1965. 

He moved to Los Angeles where his three children, Joshua, Jason and Jessica, were born. He worked at UCLA Law School for one year, then practiced eminent domain law then shifted to entertainment and real estate law. His practice in entertainment law led Lee to become a personal manager to the rock group, Iron Butterfly, musician Herbie Hancock, and other artists. Later he co-founded Bio Mass One, the first wood waste burning power plant in the U.S. The management of Bio Mass One in OR brought Lee and his wife, JoAnn, to Ashland OR where they fell in love with the town. 

Jessica, Lee’s youngest child, graduated from Grinnell in 1991 and, like Lee, completed her law degree at Yale.