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Lee University

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Lee University
Lee University Seal.png
Motto "Where Christ is King"[1]
Type Private, Liberal Arts
Established 1918[2]
Affiliation Church of God, but admits students of all religious preferences
Endowment US $18.6 million (2015)[3]
President Dr. Charles Paul Conn[4]
Academic staff
236[citation needed]
Students 5,370 (Fall 2017)[5]
Address 1120 N Ocoee St, Cleveland, TN[6], Cleveland, Tennessee, United States[6]
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[citation needed]
Colors Burgundy & Navy blue
Athletics NCAA Division IIGulf South
Nickname Flames
Mascot Flames[7]
Lee University logo

Lee University is a private University in Cleveland, Tennessee, historically affiliated with the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), an evangelical Christian denomination. Lee began as the Church of God Bible Training School in 1918, a small Bible institute of twelve students and one teacher. The school grew and became Lee College, with a Bible college and junior college on its current site, in 1948. Twenty years later, Lee received accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a four-year liberal arts college. In 1997, Lee made the transition from college to comprehensive liberal arts university granting graduate degrees.[8] The university is divided into six colleges and schools: the College of Arts & Sciences, the Helen DeVos College of Education, the School of Business, the School of Music, the School of Nursing, and the School of Religion. The university also offers online degrees through the Division of Adult Learning. Lee University is named for F.J. Lee, the institution's second president.

Lee University is continuously listed on rankings such as “America’s 100 Best College Buys” and U.S. News and World Report’s “Great Schools, Great Prices.” Since the year 2000, Lee University has been listed in the Princeton Review ranking of “best colleges” in the Southeast. Lee University was listed as number 13 among the 20 Colleges Most Committed to Community Service by USA Today College in 2011. In 2009, Lee received the honor of being one of six Presidential Awardees in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.[8]

In 2009, Voices of Lee, the a cappella vocal ensemble directed by Danny Murray, competed on the first season of The Sing-Off, an a capella competition television show on NBC, hosted by Nick Lachey. They finished in third place. In addition, several alumni have found success in popular television singing competitions. Phil Stacey finished in sixth place on season 6 of American Idol. In May of 2015, Clark Beckham was runner-up on season 14 of American Idol, and in that same year, alum Jordan Smith won season nine of NBC's The Voice. In December of 2017, Brooke Simpson placed third on the thirteenth season of The Voice.

In January 2013, the Lee University Festival Choir, a special group composed of singers from each of the choral ensembles, performed at the inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.


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

Lee University has seen its strongest growth since the 1980s, during which time enrollment quadrupled and full university status was attained. Lee's enrollment is 5,370 students, grown from 960 in 1986[8] (as of Fall 2013). This makes Lee the fifth 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 50 countries. On average, Lee also accepts more than 200 transfer students each fall.


Academic programs[edit]

Lee University has a wide range of academic disciplines and extracurricular activities. Many activities, such as chapel attendance (offered 2 times per week, students are required to attend 70% of services a month), service requirements (10 hours per semester-80 total hours to graduate), and the study abroad program, called Global Perspectives, are required as part of degree programs. Exceptions and special cases are approved by the relevant academic dean or the president of the university. 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.[9]

Entering freshmen at Lee University choose their courses of study with guidance of a faculty adviser. New freshmen and transfer students with under 16 credit hours are required to take a course called Gateway to University Success, a one-semester special topics seminar that stresses methods of inquiry, critical analysis, and writing skills, which helps to transition the student to college life. The Gateway course is taught by a full-time faculty member and a student Peer Leader. Included in the general education core of all degrees is an emphasis in biblical and theological study.

Lee has 50 different majors with over 100 individual programs. Although Lee is notable for its Christ-centered education, communications, psychology, pre-medicine, business, elementary education, and music are 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.[8]


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 master's 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 as one of 141 of the Princeton Review ranking of “best colleges” in the Southeast.[10] The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has recommended Lee University as one of 50 "All-American Colleges". Lee University ranks second in the country among the top master's institutions in the percentage of undergraduates receiving credit for studying abroad, according to Open Doors, 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. Professional and specialized accreditation have been achieved in the following areas: the School of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, the Helen DeVos College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the School of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), the School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the athletic training program has national accreditation in the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).


Lee University is considered a moderately selective liberal arts university. The average ACT scores achieved by its students is 24.5 and the average high school GPA is 3.63. Lee's admissions selectivity rank according to The Princeton Review is 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; however, students may apply at any point prior to the start of classes. Admissions applications are processed as received. Most new students begin classes in August, although students may enter in the Spring or Summer. 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.


According to the catalog portion of Lee University's website, the cost of tuition for a full-time student is $7,200 per semester. In addition to this cost, students have the option to pay for on-campus housing or meal plans. Students are required to pay some assorted fees such as technology fees, books, etc. The estimated cost of attending Lee is $11,520 per semester for an on-campus student. This cost includes room, board, tuition and the assorted fees noted above.[11]


Official athletics logo.

The school's sports teams are called the Flames. With membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II, and primarily competing in the Gulf South Conference (GSC), the Flames offer 15 team sports for their men and women student athletes. The available men's sports are: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, JV Basketball, Rugby, Soccer, Tennis, and Track. Athletic programs offered for women are: Basketball, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Fastpitch softball, Golf, Rugby, Soccer, Tennis, Track, Lacrosse and Volleyball.

Student organizations[edit]

Lee features more than 100 student organizations which include:


Backyard Ministries, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Big Pal/Little Pal, Chattanooga Church, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, God's Own, Invisible Children, Invasion, Liturgical Charismatic Fellowship, Mission Alive, Outreaching Hands, Outstretched Arms, Pioneers for Christ


Asian Council, Bahamian Connection, Chinese Student Fellowship, Diversity Council, Leetinos, International Student Fellowship, Umoja, Lee University African Student Association.

Fraternities and sororities[edit]

Kappa Upsilon Chi, Phi Mu Alpha, Sigma Alpha Iota

Social service organizations[edit]

Acting on Aids, Amnesty International, College Democrats, College Republicans, Family Life, International Justice Mission, Invisible Children, Women's Rugby, Fiber Arts Club/ "Knit Wits," Student Leadership Council, Students for Life, Life423, Crossover, Lee Buddies, Big Pal Little Pal, SAAMS, Upsilon Xi, Delta Zeta Tau, Tau Kappa Omega, Omega Alpha Phi, Alpha Gamma Chi, Sigma Nu Sigma, Pi Kappa Pi, Epsilon Lambda Phi, Theta Delta Kappa, Zeta Chi Lambda, Sigma Alpha Omega.


Academic Council, Anthropology Club, Art Club (C.I.V.A.), AACC (American Assoc. of Christian Counselors), Deutscher Klub (German Club), Financial Management Association International, Kairos Scholars Honors Program,[12] Kappa Lambda Iota (Lee University Fellowship of Historians), Math Club, Model UN, Music Educators' National Conference, Philosophy Club, Phi Beta Lambda (Business Club), Public Relations Student Society of America, Society for Law and Justice, Sociology Club, Students National Assoc. of Teachers of Singing, Tri-Beta (Biology HS)

Honorary and Service Clubs[edit]

Alpha Chi, Alpha Kappa Delta, Alpha Phi Delta, Alpha Psi Omega, Aria De Capo, Delta Mu Delta, Iota Tau Zeta, Kappa Delta Pi, Kappa Lambda Iota, Lambda Pi Eta, Phi Alpha Theta, Phi Delta Psi, Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Alpha Sigma, Pi Delta Gamma, Phi Delta Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda, Pi Sigma Alpha, Psi Chi, Sigma Alpha Iota, Sigma Delta Pi, Sigma Tau Delta, Theta Delta Kappa


Lee University is located in the town of Cleveland, Tennessee, which lies between Chattanooga and Knoxville. 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 (0.49 km2) campus consists of academic buildings, residence halls, athletic and recreational facilities, dining services, administrative offices, parks and green spaces, a pedestrian mall, Campus Safety facilities, music performance spaces, and other facilities. Many building projects have been undertaken in recent years, including; a new Humanities center (2004), a new Religion building (2008), a new state of the art Science building (2009), a new Chapel (2011), a new Communications building (2014), a new School of Nursing building (2016), and a new School of Business (2017). The campus also features articulate landscaping and many benches and areas for students. The sidewalks are handicap accessible.

Campus buildings[edit]

Note: Dates of construction given when known

Residence halls[edit]

  • Atkins-Ellis Hall (1994) – Female residence hall built after Ellis Hall fire
  • B.L. Hicks Hall (1996) – Male apartment residence hall
  • Bowdle-O'Bannon Hall (2002) – Male residence hall connected by an atrium
  • Brinsfield Row East (2003) – Female apartments named after former president J. Stewart Brinsfield; expanded in 2004 and 2008
  • Brinsfield Row West (2003) – Male apartments named after former president J. Stewart Brinsfield; expanded in 2004 and 2008
  • Carroll Court (1973) – Married apartment residence hall named after former president R. Leonard Carroll
  • Cross Hall (1969) – Female residence hall named after former president James A. Cross
  • Sharp-Davis Hall (1990) – Female residence hall
  • Keeble Hall (1999) – Female apartment residence hall
  • Livingston Hall (1995) – Female apartment residence hall
  • Livingston East (2011) – Female townhouse residence hall
  • Medlin Hall (1930s) – Male residence hall (formerly Walker Hall and Memorial Hall)
  • Nora Chambers Hall (1930s) – Female residence hall connected to Simmons and Tharp Halls; renovated in 1994
  • Simmons Hall (1930s) – Female residence hall connected to Nora Chambers Hall; renovated in 1981
  • Storms Hall (2000) – Female apartment residence hall
  • Tharp Hall (1930s) – Female residence hall connected to Nora Chambers; renovated in 1981
  • New Hughes Hall (2011) – Male residence hall named in memory of former President Ray H. Hughes

Other buildings[edit]

  • Admissions House – Located in a historic house on Ocoee Street
  • Centenary Building – (oldest building on campus, formerly women's dormitory East Wing Hall and Student Center) Home to administrative offices in conjunction with the Higginbotham Administration Building
  • Watkins Building – Houses Center for Calling and Career and Counseling Center
  • Pangle Hall – Located on Church Street, formerly the First Baptist Church of Cleveland property before renovation in 2014
  • Pressley Maintenance Building (1987) – Physical Plant headquarters
  • Chapel (2011) – Worship, performance, and special event space

Former buildings[edit]

  • Beach Science Building (1965) – Demolished in 2009 to make way for new science building
  • Ellis Hall (1941) – Burned down due to arson fire in November 1993
  • Hughes Hall (1968) – Male residence hall named after former president Ray H. Hughes, demolished in 2010 to make way for the Math & Science Complex
  • Old Main – The oldest building on campus before demolition in 1962

Social activities[edit]

Community covenant[edit]

Lee University, like many faith-based colleges and universities, encourages a Christian philosophy of student behavior based on Biblical teachings. 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, and its stance on homosexuality, which is banned in all forms. Men's and women's dormitories are kept separate and premarital sexual intercourse is prohibited regardless of sexual preference. Immodesty and "occult practices" are also forbidden.[13]

Greek organizations[edit]

Like many colleges and universities in the U.S., Lee University students have the opportunity to participate in Greek organizations for the purpose of serving the community, bettering the campus and building social and professional relationships. Many of the 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."[14] There are currently only two nationally affiliated social fraternities at Lee University, Phi Mu Alpha and Kappa Upsilon Chi. Sigma Alpha Omega is currently the only nationally affiliated sorority on campus.


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.[15]
  • The Lee Review is the campus literary journal.
  • The Burgundy and Blue is an online news publication for alumni.


  • Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson (1918–1922) [Church of God General Overseer (1909–1923)]
  • Flavius Josephus Lee (1922–1923) [Church of God General Overseer (1923–1928)]
  • J.B. Ellis (1923–1924)
  • T.S. Payne (1924–1930)
  • J. Herbert Walker, Sr. (1930–1935) [Church of God General Overseer (1935–1944)]
  • Zeno C. Tharp (1935–1944) [Church of God General Overseer (1952–1956)]
  • J. Herbert 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) [Church of God General Overseer (1970–1972)]
  • R. L. Platt (1957–1960)
  • Ray H. Hughes, Sr. (1960–1966) [Church of God General Overseer (1972–1974; 1978–1982; 1996)]
  • James A. Cross (1966–1970) [Church of God General Overseer (1958–1962)]
  • Charles W. Conn (1970–1982) [Church of God General Overseer (1966–1970)]
  • Ray H. Hughes, Sr. (1982–1984)
  • R. Lamar Vest (1984–1986) [Church of God General Overseer (1990–1994; 2000–2004)]
  • Charles Paul Conn (1986–present)

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Lee University". 13 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "About Lee". Lee University. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "Lee University". U.S. News and World Report. n.d. Retrieved 1 June 2017. 
  4. ^ "Meet the President". Lee University. Lee University. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Lee University Quick Facts". Lee University. Lee University. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "About". Lee University. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Quick Facts". Lee University. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Lee University Quick Facts". Retrieved 2015-04-13.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  9. ^
  10. ^ Lee University website
  11. ^ "Undergraduate Tuition & Fees". Retrieved 2015-04-13. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Community Covenant" (PDF). Archived from the original (pdf) on 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2013-01-29. 
  14. ^ "Lee University – Cleveland, TN – Temporary Outage". Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  15. ^ "Lee Clarion". Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  16. ^ "Clark Beckham". Lee University. Retrieved 2015-04-14. 
  17. ^ "Tennessee General Assembly Main Page". Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  18. ^ "Lee Alumnus Nathan Chapman Stands Out In The Country Music Business – 12/09/2009". Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  19. ^ "Titleholders". 2011-06-18. Archived from the original on 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  20. ^ "Lee University's Micah Massey wins Grammy in tie for best contemporary Christian music song". 2013-02-11. 
  21. ^ Hetter, Katia (December 16, 2015). "Fan favorite Jordan Smith wins 'The Voice'". CNN. Retrieved December 17, 2015. 
  22. ^ "American Idol Season Six Top 24 Contestant Phil Stacey". Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  23. ^ "Zawadzki First Flame to Reach the Majors". 2010-04-30. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^

External links[edit]