Dr. Borah held a B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and an M.A. from the University of Washington. He was valedictorian of his Cokato (Minn.) High School class of 1950.
He thrived on teaching and inspiring his students during a career that spanned from 1962 to 1997. He brought lecture material to life through personal anecdotes and through his writings in the department newsletter, Hallucinations. In addition to student perspectives, the newsletter included his regular columns: “From the Big Ashtray,” “Sylvester Speaks” and “Report from Higher Brook,” a detailed account of a small, intimate community and the people who lived there. The community itself was an elaborate set of miniatures arranged on his credenza, changing with the seasons.
“People who know me should be able to identify where I live in Higher Brook,” he wrote in 1995. “Naturally, the front door is blue, and there are lilacs blooming on each side of the front door, and around the back door are crepe myrtle trees.” In the summer, he wrote, the village “disappears into the mists of time … into closets, chests, etc.”
Lee’s sense of whimsy extended to his nickname for himself, “the happy hooker,” a reflection of his love of creating hooked rugs. He designed some in the style of Monet, including a version of Monet’s “Water Lilies.”
He created a family for his students. Psychology Club and Psi Chi members joined him for potluck dinners at his apartment and end-of-semester parties on campus; both included his signature dessert, trifle. All were joyous gatherings filled with laughter. Dr. Borah also mentored his students individually, sometimes with the text of an article and his handwritten note, “Read, and let’s discuss.” Many of the friendships he developed with students lasted more than 40 years.
— Compiled from alumni reminiscences by Elissa Alkoff Malcohn ’79