JCC Hospitality and Tourism Club
Vincent J. Dee was an associate professor at Jefferson Community College for 25 years, joining the faculty in 1966. With his extensive knowledge of the tourism field, he understood the necessity of preparing an active and committed workforce to meet tourism demands. As a result, he developed the college’s hospitality and tourism program. Although he retired on January 1, 1992, he served as an adjunct associate professor at JCC for three additional years.
This scholarship was established in 1994 by JCC’s Hospitality and Tourism Club, with an additional, matching contribution made in 1995 by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. The award is offered to a second year JCC student who is involved in community activities, achieves academically and actively participates in JCC’s Hospitality and Tourism Program.
He was born Vincent De Dominicis on July 15, 1917, in New York City, New York. He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University, Brooklyn, New York, in 1936, and a master’s degree from New York University’s school of retailing in 1945.
He received a master’s degree from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, in 1977, and a doctorate from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1983, as well as other diplomas in hotel and travel management.
Mr. Dee began his professional career in the late 1930s in retailing. He worked as assistant buyer for Allied Purchasing Corp. in New York City, for Quackenbush of Paterson, New Jersey, and for Dey Brothers in Syracuse, New York. Moving to the merchandise managing field, he joined the Rudge & Guenzel Co. in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1946, he returned to Syracuse’s Dey Brothers.
During his 24-year career at Dey Brothers, he worked in many areas of the department store business, serving as director of research, sales promotion and merchandise manager, consultant and vice president. He traveled throughout the United States purchasing commodities and identifying locations to open stores.
In 1947, while working for Dey Brothers, he became president and treasurer of McCormick’s Thousand Islands Restaurant in Clayton, New York.
Loving the St. Lawrence River, he realized the area could become a tourist attraction with the promotion of the Thousand Islands region. As a member and president of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, he and W. Grant Mitchell established the International Council of the Thousand Islands, a United States-Canadian effort to encourage tourism. His interest in bringing vacationers to the region caused him to write several publications on retail merchandising, travel and tourism in the north country.
Mr. Dee was president of the Thousand Islands Museum from 1960 to 1962. From 1968 to 1969, he served on a temporary state commission to commemorate the War of 1812 and the composition of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’
In 1969, he was appointed by then Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller to the St. Lawrence-Eastern Lake Ontario Commission. He became a member of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority and was its president until his death. He was named to the advisory board for the National Bank of Northern New York and appointed to the Adirondack North Country Association’s regional advisory committee, representing Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Lewis and Oswego counties. He served on the advisory board for the New York State Sea Grant, St. Lawrence River region.
In 1984, Mr. Dee was elected president of a non-profit corporation, Seaway Trail Inc., and was later appointed by former Gov. Mario Cuomo as vice chairman of the New York State Governor’s Tourism Advisory Council.
Mr. Dee also served various local groups including the St. Lawrence Valley Conference Council.
He was chosen the 1990 Man of the Year by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce and received an I Love New York Individual Achievement Award from the State Department of Economic Development. St. Lawrence University honored him with a 1978 North Country Citation.
In addition to his outstanding professional and community service, Mr. Dee enjoyed family life:
‘Vince liked treating his 16-year-old daughter and grandchildren. Often he would take them to concerts in Lake Placid to listen to such musicians as New Kids on the Block. In his 70s at the time, he didn’t enjoy the loud music, so he always wore his ear plugs during the concerts. To this day, I smile when I think of it,’ said Beth Dee, his daughter-in-law.
Vincent J. Dee died January 4, 1995.
The Jefferson Community College Foundation is grateful to the Hospitality and Tourism Club for creating this scholarship.