In August 2013, Lee Thornton, Ph.D., established an endowed fund to support the writing of dissertations at the University of Maryland, College Park. Professor Thornton held the Richard Eaton Chair in Broadcast News at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, a first of its kind for the campus and the nation. In 2008, she became interim Dean of the Merrill College, the first woman dean of color on the campus. Later, she served as Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity and Ombuds Officer for the Graduate School. A dedicated campus citizen, Professor Thornton was named Outstanding Woman of the Year in 2011 by the Presidentís Commission on Womenís Issues.