Michael E Lestz
Professor of History, Emeritus
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Trinity College faculty member since 1980
General ProfileTeachingResearchPublications/PresentationsHonors/Awards
Ph.D., Yale Univ.
M.Phil., Yale Univ.
M.A., Yale Univ.
B.A., Trinity College

Michael Lestz directed the O'Neill Asia Cum Laude Endowment, founded through a bequest by Michael and Trish O’Neill, from its inception until his retirement in 2020. The O'Neill Endowment fosters special credit-bearing study programs in Asia designed and led by Trinity faculty.  For fifteen years, O’Neill funds have sponsored undergraduate study in China, Japan, Cambodia, Tibet, and Nepal participated in by hundreds of Trinity undergraduates. He also led the Charlotte Riggs Scholarship Committee and served as Fellow for the Class of 1963 Scholarship Program for ten years.  Early in his career, Lestz won the College’s Alumni Achievement Medal and in 2019 his name was added to the Eigenbrodt Cup, Trinity’s highest alumni honor, for a lifetime of devoted service to his alma mater.

During a forty-two year career a Trinity, Lestz chaired the History Department for seven years and for five years directed the International Studies Program. He also served as Secretary of the Faculty. As a visiting professor, he taught at Wesleyan University and during AY 2003-2004 was the Mansfield Freeman Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawai’i.

In recent years Lestz's research has focused on Republican China and the history of East and Southeast Asian cities.  He is the co-author of The Search for Modern China:  A Document Collection (Norton, 1999) and principal author of a Chinese to English translation of Zhou Daguan’s 13th century portrait of Angkorean Cambodia Zhenla fengtuji  [A record of the customs of Zhenla].