DeeGee Lester is the head and founder of the Hellenic Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Tennessee, USA.
Ms. Lester spent her childhood in France and then studied abroad. She served as Director of Education after twenty years at the Parthenon Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, the only replica of the Parthenon in the world. Over the years she has held administrative positions in various organizations. As an educator and supporter of culture, she has guided more than 150 practitioners of programs and workshops. She collaborated with the museum staff to design the educational program of the Parthenon exhibitions (including the “Romancing the Acropolis” of the Benaki Museum). Also in 2018, she organized a series of events with the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra in Nashville for the 100th anniversary of the Second World War.
1999, Master of Arts (Public History, Museum Studies). Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN.
1992, Bachelor of Science (History). Belmont University, Nashville, TN.
1978, Studied in Ireland, Encounter Ireland Scholarship Program.
Attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. 1977-79 (Journalism Major) and 1968-70 (Theater Major).
1998-2018, (Retired) Director of Education, The Parthenon (Metro Parks, Nashville, TN).
2012-2018, Monthly Contributor, Nashville Arts Magazine
2014-2018, Monthly Contributor, Validity Magazine (Publication of The Nashville Trace).
1992-2019, Editorial Assistant, Dr. Richard Daft, Vanderbilt Owen School of Management, Nashville, TN. (Assist on periodic new editions of text books).
Quentin Roosevelt’s White House Gang (Children’s book, 2019, Newman Springs).
Around Gallatin and Sumner County Vol. 1, and Vol. 2, with Kenneth Thomson (1998, Arcadia Publishers).
Roosevelt Research: Collections for the Study of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor (1992, Greenwood Press).
Irish Research Guide (1987, Greenwood Press).
Immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, with Jack Weaver (1986, Greenwood Press).
Contribution to the encyclopedia:
“ The Irish in Tennessee,” Encyclopedia of the Irish in America (1998, Notre Dame Press).
8 Articles, Tennessee Encyclopedia (1998, Tennessee Historical Society, Rutledge Hill Press).
” Tennessee’s Bold Fenian Men,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, winter, 1998.
“ The Memphis Riots of 1866,” Eire-Ireland, Fall 1995.
” John Mitchel’s Wilderness Years in Tennessee, Eire-Ireland, Summer, 1990.
” Theodore Roosevelt, the Ancient Irish Sagas, and Celtic Studies in America,” Eire-Ireland, Spring, 1989. (Honorable Mention, Four Masters Award).
Book Reviews in Mississippi Historical Quarterly and Tennessee Historical Quarterly.
Editor, Annual Research Reports , American Conference for Irish Studies, 1991-1997
American Conference for Irish Studies (1987-1991)
Belmont University (hosted two Irish Panels) 1993, 1994.
Tennessee Association of Museums, various years.
Metro Schools: Parent University, Various Teacher Workshops and Panels.
2018-Academies of Nashville, Years of Leadership Award 2007-2018.
2016- MNPS, Volunteer for the Year for Public Schools, PENCIL Foundation.
2014- Academies of Nashville Award, Best Partnership (Art, Design, & Communication)
2011- Educator Award, Mayor’s Advisory for People with Disabilities , Metro Government of Nashville and Davidson County.
1990-Honorable Mention, The Four Master’s Award, Eire-Ireland.
1992- History Award , Belmont University.