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Lee University
Motto "A Christ-Centered Liberal Arts Campus"
Established 1918
Type Private
Endowment US $9 million
President Dr. Charles Paul Conn
Faculty 236
Students 4,262 (Fall 2009)
Location Tennessee Cleveland, Tennessee, U.S.
35°09′57″N 84°52′16″W / 35.16583°N 84.87111°W / 35.16583; -84.87111Coordinates: 35°09′57″N 84°52′16″W / 35.16583°N 84.87111°W / 35.16583; -84.87111
Campus Suburban, 120 acres
Mascot Flames
Athletics NAIA Division I-AA
Affiliations Church of God
Website Lee University Web Site
Lee University logo

Lee University is a private, coeducational university located in Cleveland, Tennessee. It is affiliated with the Church of God, which has its headquarters in the same town. Lee University is named for F. J. Lee, second president of the institution (1922–23) and one of the most respected leaders in the early years of the Church of God. Lee University was known as Bible Training School from 1918 until 1947 when the name was changed to Lee College. Lee became a university in 1997 and continues to maintain a strong Christian identity.

Lee University's enrollment has more than tripled from 960 (Fall 1986) to 4,262 (Fall 2009) marking the 22nd straight year of increased enrollment under president, Dr. Paul Conn. Lee University is now the 5th largest undergraduate enrollment among the 103 Christian colleges who are member institutions of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Although Lee is notable for its religious education; pre-medicine, business, elementary education, and music are also considered among its strongest specialties, and it is consistently ranked by US News and World Report among the top Southern liberal arts colleges.



The birth place of what is now Lee University was a single room in the Church of God Publishing House

Lee University (previously named Church of God Bible Training School, and later Lee College) has seen its strongest growth since the 1980s, during which time enrollment has tripled and full university status attained. Lee's student body consists of 4,262 (grown from 960 in 1986)[1] undergraduate students (as of Fall 2009). This makes Lee the 5th largest undergraduate enrollment among the 103 Christian colleges who are member institutions of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Students currently represent all 50 states and more than 49 countries. On average, Lee also accepts more than 200 transfer students each fall. Since 1986, Lee has also added twenty-two major buildings necessary to serve the students.[citation needed]

Up to the 1970s the university culture had suspicion on people who held Ph.D.s, and the university had an open enrollment policy that placed functionally illiterate students and academically ambitious students in the same classes. Hanna Rosin, author of God's Harvard, described the university culture at the time as having "some vestiges of the Pentecostal anti-intellectualism".[2]



Academic program

Lee University is well-known for its academic program and the extensiveness and diversity of its extracurricular activities. Many activities such as chapel attendance (offered 4 times per week, students are required to attend 2 services), service requirements (10 hours per semester-80 total hours to graduate), and the study abroad program (Typically taken during a summer break), are required of all graduates before they can receive their respective degree. Exceptions to these are made only under rare circumstances and only under the approval of an academic dean or the school president. All non-local entering freshmen are also required to live on-campus with exceptions made to married/divorced/widowed students, students with children, students 21 years and older, part-time students, and students living locally with immediate relatives.[3]

Entering freshmen of Lee University choose their courses of study, developed under the guidance of a faculty adviser. New freshmen and transfer students with under 16 credit hours are required to take a Gateway-Seminar course (a one-semester special topics seminar that stresses methods of inquiry, critical analysis, writing skills) and helps to transition the student to college life. The Gateway course is taught by a professor who is paired with an upper class student. To graduate, all students are generally expected to complete at least 42 credit hours in a major field and a total of 130 credit hours of academic work. Included in the total is a minor in Theology that consist of 18 credit hours and is required of all students, regardless of their program of study.

Lee has forty-nine different majors offered for study. Although Lee is notable for its religious education; pre-medicine, business, elementary education, and music are also considered among its strongest specialties. Lee's intensive teaching, active learning, residence in a community of cultural and global diversity, and the institution's commitment to Christian philosophy in both social and academic life come together to form a distinctive experience of liberal education.[1]


Lee graduates receive a Christian liberal arts education

Lee is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate and masters degrees. Lee has been selected for many years as a “Top Tier” institution in the US News and World Report college rankings. “America’s 100 Best College Buys” chose Lee as one of their top choices every year since 2006. Since the year 2000, Lee University has been listed in the Princeton Review ranking of “best colleges” in the South. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has recommended Lee University as one of 50 "All-American Colleges". Lee University ranks third in the country among the top 20 baccalaureate institutions in the percentage of undergraduates receiving credit for studying abroad, according to Open Doors 2006, an annual report published by the New York-based Institute of International Education (IIE), Lee has also been among the top 20 baccalaureate institutions nationally for the number of international students (248 in fall 2006). The music program achieved national recognition by becoming a full member of the National Association of Schools of Music in 1998.


Lee University is considered a selective liberal arts university. Historically, it has offered admission to 64% ot its applicants, and approximately 80% of accepted students typically enroll in the fall. The average ACT scores achieved by its students is 23 and the average high school GPA is 3.41.

Lee's admissions selectivity rank according to The Princeton Review is a 82 out of 99. This ranking is determined by several institutionally-reported factors, including: the class rank, average standardized test scores, and average high school GPA of entering freshmen; the percentage of students who hail from out-of-state; and the percentage of applicants accepted. The primary factor in evaluating applicants is the quality of the education they have received, as shown by their transcript. Early decision opportunities are offered to students in the fall; most students apply in January of their final year in high school. Admissions letters are usually received by April 1 of each year. All students begin classes in August. In some cases students are admitted before they graduate from high school; these students have typically taken all of the academic classes offered at their school.


Lee's combined tuition, room, board, and fees for the 2009-2010 academic year is $8,680 per semester. Tuition and fees are $ 5,805 per semester and room and board (plus other assorted fees) are $3,475 per semester.[4]


The school's sports teams are named the Flames. With membership in the NAIA Division I-AA (NAIA), the Flames offer thirteen team sports for their men and women student athletes. The available men's sports are: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, JV Basketball, Soccer, and Tennis. Athletic programs offered for women are: Basketball, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Fastpitch softball, Golf, Soccer, Tennis, and Volleyball. Lee's Lady Flames soccer team won the NAIA National Championship in 2008[5] and in 2009.

About the campus

Lee University is located in the town of Cleveland, Tennessee, which lies in between Chattanooga, Tennessee and Knoxville, Tennessee. Cleveland is located near the Ocoee River, the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics whitewater events, the Smoky Mountains, and the popular Gatlinburg area.

The 120-acre campus contist of various old and newly constructed academic buildings. The residential part is also spread throughout the campus with multiple dormatories and housing. Many building projects have been undertaken in recent years on the campus including; a new Humanities center, a new Religion building (2008), and a new state of the art Science building is under construction and is now being partially used (as of Fall 2009). The campus also features several small park areas and articulate landscaping. The sidewalks went through a minor renovation several years ago to make them more handicap accessible as well.

Campus Buildings

Note: Dates of construction given when known

Paul Conn Student Union and the Dixon Center
  • Admissions Center - Located in a historic house on Ocoee Street
  • Atkins-Ellis Hall - (1994) Female dormitory built after Ellis Hall fire
  • Beach Science Building - (1965) Demolished in 2009 to make way for new science building
  • B.L. Hicks Hall - (1996) Male apartment residence
  • Bowdle-O'Bannon Halls - (2002) Male dormitories connected by an atrium.
  • Brinsfield Row - (2003) Female apartments named after former president J. Stewart Brinsfield. Expanded in 2004 and 2008.
  • Carroll Court - (1973) Married apartments named after former president R. Leonard Carroll.
  • Centenary Building - Oldest building on campus, now home to administrative offices in conjunction with the Higginbotham Administration Building. Formerly women's dormitory East Wing Hall and Student Center.
  • Center for the Humanities - (2004) Features the university clock tower, Johnson Lecture Hall and Squires Recital Hall
  • Conn Center - (1977) Large auditorium with balcony, seating 1,800. Named after former president Charles W. Conn.
  • Counseling Center - Houses Center for Calling and Careers and Academic Support
  • Cross Hall - (1969) Female dormitory named after former president James A. Cross
  • Curtsinger Building - (1995) School of Music
  • Davis-Sharp Halls - (1990) Connected female dormitories
  • Deacon Jones Dining Hall - (1996) Home to the President's Dining Room
  • DeVos Recreation Center - (1993) Features racquetball courts, pool tables, workout rooms and basketball court
  • DeVos Tennis Center -(1988) Features six outdoor courts
  • Dixon Center - (1992) Performing arts auditorium seating 500, home to the Department of Communication and the Arts, video editing suite and production studio
  • Ellis Hall - (1941) Burnt down due to arson fire in November 1993
  • Helen DeVos College of Education - (1998) Home of the Rose Lecture Hall
  • Higginbotham Administration Building - (1964) Records, financial aid, business office, Information Services & Technology
  • Hughes Hall - (1968) Male dormitory named after former president Ray H. Hughes(Being Demolished)
  • Keeble Hall - (1999) Female apartment residence
  • Leonard Center - (2007) Houses the Health Clinic, Leonard Center and meeting space
  • Livingston Hall - (1995) Female apartment residence
  • Mayfield Annex - Former Mayfield Elementary School. Features the nursery and the Commons.
  • McKenzie Athletic Building - (2002) Features offices and weight rooms for athletes
  • Medlin Hall - (1930s) Formerly Walker Hall and Memorial Hall. Once home to Billy Graham. Male dormitory.
  • Music Annex - Located in a historic home on Church Street
  • Nora Chambers Hall - (1930s) Female dormitory connected to Simmons and Tharp Halls. Renovated in 1994.
  • Old Main - The oldest building on campus before demolition in 1962.
  • Paul Conn Student Union - (2000) Residential Life office, Post Office, Student Media Lab, Jazzman's Cafe, Food Court, Campus Store. Named after current president Charles Paul Conn.
  • Paul Dana Walker Arena - (1983) Basketball arena and athletic offices. Renovated in 2005.
  • Pressley Maintenance Building - (1987) Physical Plant
  • School of Religion - (2008) Jones Lecture Hall, Reading Room
  • Science Building - (2009) Science wing open, math wing and atrium currently under construction
  • Simmons Hall - Female dormitory connected to Nora Chambers Hall. Basement home to Campus Safety office. Formerly the post office. Renovated in 1981.
  • Squires Library - (1984) Home of the Pentecostal Resource Center
  • Storms Hall - (2000) Male apartment residence
  • Tharp Hall - Female dormitory connected to Nora Chambers Hall. Renovated in 1981.
  • Vest Building- (1939) Office of the President, Department of English & Modern Foreign Languages. Formerly the library and administration building.
  • Walker Memorial Building - (1945) Named after former president J.H. Walker. Formerly the Alumni Building
  • Watkins Building - (1992) Center for Adult and Professional Studies

Social activities and organizations

Community covenant

Lee University, like many faith-based colleges and universities, encourages a Judeo-Christian philosophy of student behavior. All students are asked to sign a "Community Covenant" which lists several restrictions on behaviors and social interaction according to the school's institutional and religious policy. Most notable are a substance policy barring alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. Premarital sexual intercourse is prohibited regardless of sexual preference, as is homosexual behavior in general. Immodesty and "occult practices" are also forbidden. [1]

Greek organizations

Like many colleges and universities in the United States, Lee University students have the opportunity to participate in Greek organizations for the purpose of building social and professional relationships. Unlike chapters of most "Greek" fraternities and sororities, the primary Greek organizations on Lee University's campus are neither national nor recognized as fraternities or sororities and are instead colloquially referred to as "Greek clubs." [2] As of the Fall of 2008, these Greek clubs include male clubs Upsilon Xi, Alpha Gamma Chi, Pi Kappa Pi, Theta Delta Kappa, and Tau Kappa Omega, and female clubs Delta Zeta Tau, Sigma Nu Sigma, Epsilon Lambda Phi, Omega Alpha Phi, and Zeta Chi Lambda. The only national Greek fraternities at Lee University are Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Sigma Alpha Iota, but they are officially regarded as academic organizations because of the administration's current policy against admitting national Greek fraternities and sororities onto its campus. As of the fall of 2008, the nationally recognized academic organization Phi Eta Sigma was chartered.[3]


Lee University's student newspaper, the Lee Clarion, is published during the academic school year.
  • The Vindagua is Lee University's award-winning yearbook.
  • The Torch is Lee University's quarterly magazine highlighting current events at Lee as well as faculty members, students and alumni.
  • The Lee Clarion is the campus newspaper. [4]
  • The Lee Review is the campus literary journal.


  • Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson (1918–1922)
  • Flavius Josephus Lee (1922-1923)
  • J.B. Ellis (1923-1924)
  • T.S. Payne (1924-1930)
  • J.H. Walker, Sr. (1930-1935)
  • Zeno C. Tharp (1935-1944)
  • J.H. Walker, Sr. (1944-1945)
  • E.L. Simmons (1945-1948)
  • J. Stewart Brinsfield (1948-1951)
  • John C. Jernigan (1951-1952)
  • R. Leonard Carroll, Sr. (1952-1957)
  • R. L. Platt (1957-1960)
  • Ray H. Hughes, Sr. (1960-1966)
  • James A. Cross (1966-1970)
  • Charles W. Conn (1970-1982)
  • Ray H. Hughes, Sr. (1982-1984)
  • R. Lamar Vest (1984-1986)
  • Charles Paul Conn (1986-present)

Notable alumni

  • Charles Paul Conn - current president of Lee University credited with being the driving force behind the institutions continuing success over the last two decades as well as a free lance non-fiction writer with four of his works previously on the New York Times bestseller list including the #7 best seller in non-fiction in 1977 with his book The Possible Dream. Dr. Conn is now serving his twentieth year of Lee presidency.
  • Charles W. Conn - former Lee president and president emeritus as well as the author of Like a Mighty Army, Moves the Church of God, the official history of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) denomination. He also served as Editor-in-chief of Pathway Press and General Overseer of the Church of God.
  • Donald Bowdle - distinguished professor of theology, and a master of the Koine Greek text, has published over two hundred articles and essays on religious subjects, a previous fellow at Yale University and University of Edinburgh
  • Four Voices - 2002 world champion Barbershop Quartet.
  • Jay DeMarcus - a multi-instrumentalist/vocalist in the contemporary country band Rascal Flatts.
  • Jeremi Richardson - a vocalist in the contemporary Christian music group Avalon (group) former member of Lee University Campus Choir.
  • Jimi Westbrook - songwriter, vocalist, musician and founding member of the contemporary country music band, Little Big Town.
  • Kevin Brooks - a current state representative for Tennessee district 24 as of 2007. [5]
  • Melissa Greene - a vocalist in the contemporary Christian music group Avalon (group).
  • Scott Stapp - lead singer of the band Creed (band).
  • Phil Stacey - Top 12 finalist during the sixth season of American Idol, the karaoke style talent show produced by Fox Television that aired in the Spring of 2007. On May 2, 2007, Phil Stacey tied for fifth place when he was voted off the show along with another contestant in a double elimination.[6]
  • Lance Zawadzki - San Diego Padres 2007 draft pick, Short Stop.
  • Stephanie Culberson - Miss Tennessee 2001, Miss Tennessee USA 2004. [7]
  • Iris Clement - 2009 summa cum laude graduate [6]
  • Dr. Ken Robertson - Head of Pediatrics at Lebonheur
  • Ricardo Pierre-Louis - Former MLS soccer player drafted in the second round (22nd overall) in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft by the Columbus Crew[2] of Major League Soccer
  • Stanley Nyazamba - Former Columbus Crew soccer player.
  • Voices of Lee - finalists on the 2009 NBC show The Sing Off.

External links


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Rosin, Hanna. God's Harvard. 2007. Harcourt. 120.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Dad


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