Stephen Lee graduated from Lamar University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. While attending Lamar he earned four letters playing football, including 33 consecutive starts at center, where he was ultimately recognized by the Associated Press as a 1-AA All American.
He began his career in banking with North Park National Bank in Dallas before relocating back to Southeast Texas in 1993, spending the next 10 years serving in leadership roles with three regional banks. During this time, he earned a graduate degree from the Southwest Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University, where he was recognized with the Bracewell and Patterson Outstanding Graduate Award in 1999.
In 2004, he transitioned briefly out of banking with Pulte Homes in Orlando, Florida, as Vice President of Field Operations before returning to Southeast Texas to take over as CEO and President of Orange Savings Bank in 2008. Under his leadership, the bank expanded into Jefferson County before merging with First Financial Bank in 2013. He continues to serve as Chairman, CEO & President of First Financial Bank, NA – Southeast Texas Region. In 2018, Stephen was recognized by First Financial Bank as the 8th recipient of the Walter F. Johnson Award for his leadership in recovery efforts following the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey on Southeast Texas.
He and his wife Jami, who also graduated from Lamar in 1995, live in Beaumont and have two boys, Mitchell and Michael. Mitchell graduated from Lamar University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and Michael will attend Texas State University this fall. Stephen is actively involved in the community, serving as a Director of the Lamar State College-Orange Foundation, Chairman of the Lutcher Theater, Inc. Board, Director of Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas Foundation and Director of the 100 Club of Southeast Texas. His term on the Board of Regents expires in 2027.