Lee B. Croft was born in Montana, attended Montana State University and Arizona State University (bachelor's in Math, 1968), University of Arizona (master's in Russian, 1970) and Cornell University, earning his doctorate in general and Slavic linguistics in 1973. He taught at Colgate University and at Cornell University as an assistant professor of linguistics, then accepted an assistant professorship of Russian at ASU in 1973. He was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 1978, and to full professor in 1994. He served his department as assistant chair (1976-80), as faculty senator (three times) and as coordinator (1975-to current with only sabbatical breaks) of Russian and the Slavic languages. He is the founder and former director (1991-1997) of ASU's Critical Languages Institute, now administered through the Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies, the predecessor organization of which (REESC) he helped form. Throughout his career, he has received numerous recognitions for excellence in teaching and student mentorship and, in 2005, received a lifetime professional achievement medal (the V. I. Vernadsky "Ten Years of RAEN" silver medal with sash and diploma) from the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. In November of 2006, he was elected to be the first head of the faculty of German, Romanian, and Slavic in ASU's new School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC).
Prof. Lee B. Croft's research interests include: Slavic linguistics (historical and structural); Linguistic iconicity, especially its use in language and literature pedagogy; Verse translation of Russian poetry; Biographies in English of Russian historical figures (George Anton Schaeffer, Nikolai Ivanovich Kibalchich, Andrei Andreevich Vlasov) and Russian biographies of American Nobel-laureate scientists (Irving Langmuir, Linus Pauling). He is co-author with four of his "capstone" students of the book RUSSIAN IN ARIZONA: A HISTORY OF ITS TEACHING (IIHS, Tempe/Perm, 2007 ISBN: 978-1-4303-2355-6), wherein he tries to detail the significant achievements of everyone who has ever taught Russian anywhere in the State of Arizona, mentioning over 1600 people: professors, teachers, and students of Russian in the state from the initiation of Russian instruction at ASU in 1946 on.