Lee University
Former name
Church of God Bible Training School (1918–1948)
Lee College (1948–1997)
Motto"Where Christ is King"[1]
TypePrivate university
Religious affiliation
Church of God
EndowmentUS$18.6 million (2015)[3]
PresidentMark L. Walker
Students3,927 (fall 2022)[2]
35°09′57″N 84°52′16″W / 35.16583°N 84.87111°W / 35.16583; -84.87111
CampusSuburban, 130 acres (53 ha)[citation needed]
NewspaperLee Clarion
Colors    Burgundy and navy blue
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IIGulf South

Lee University is a private Christian university in Cleveland, Tennessee. It was originally the Church of God Bible Training School, a small Bible institute founded in 1918 with twelve students and one teacher, Nora I. Chambers.[5] 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 became a university; it now offers master's degrees as well as undergraduate degrees.[6]

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. The university is named for F.J. Lee, its second president.


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

Lee's enrollment is 5,370 students, up from 960 in 1986[7] (as of fall 2013)

Lee University prohibits homosexual relationships for students.[8] The University filed an amicus brief in favor of employment discrimination against LGBT people in the court case Bostock v. Clayton County in 2019.[9]



Academic programs

Many co-curricular activities, such as chapel attendance (offered twice 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 for those who are married, divorced, widowed, parents, over age 21, part-time, or living locally with immediate relatives.[11]


Lee is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate and master's degrees. 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).


Main article: Lee Flames

The Lee athletic teams are called the Flames. The university is a member of the Division II level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), primarily competing in the Gulf South Conference (GSC) since the 2013–14 academic year. They were also a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), primarily competing as an independent in the Mid-East Region of the Division I level. The Flames previously competed in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC; formerly known as Georgia–Alabama–Carolina Conference (GACC) until after the 2003–04 school year) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) from 2004–05 to 2012–13.

Lee competes in 18 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis & track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball. Club sports are offered such as boxing, men's and women's rugby, spikeball and ultimate frisbee.


Lee University is located in the town of Cleveland, Tennessee, which lies between Chattanooga and Knoxville.

This location had long been the site of church-affiliated schools. Centenary College was founded in 1884 to honor the "centenary" of American Methodism. Located on part of the present campus, that school closed in 1929, and in 1933 its property was sold to Bob Jones College, an interdenominational college which had previously been in Florida. When that school moved to South Carolina in 1947, the property was once again sold, and the Church of God became its new owner with Lee College and now, Lee University occupying the original and much expanded area.[citation needed]

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 the past decades, including a humanities center (2004), religion building (2008), science building (2009), chapel (2011), communications building (2014), School of Nursing building (2016), and School of Business (2017).[citation needed]

Campus buildings

Note: Dates of construction given when known[citation needed]

Residence halls

Other buildings

Former buildings

Social activities

Community covenant

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. Immodesty and "occult practices" are also forbidden.[13]

Greek organizations

As of 2008, the university recognized ten Greek-letter organizations.[14]


Lee University's student newspaper, the Lee Clarion, is published during the academic school year.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "Lee University". 13 February 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  2. ^ a b "Lee University Quick Facts". Lee University. Retrieved August 13, 2023.
  3. ^ "Lee University". U.S. News & World Report. n.d. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Quick Facts". Lee University. Archived from the original on 2011-08-24. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  5. ^ Hyatt, Susan Stubbs (2022). In the Spirit We're Equal (2nd ed.). Grapevine, TX, USA: Hyatt Press. p. 328. ISBN 978-1-888435-76-4.
  6. ^ Lee to Celebrate Centennial, Lee University (January 1, 2018).
  7. ^ "Lee University- Publications". Leeuniversity.edu. Archived from the original on 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  8. ^ Redden, Elizabeth (March 26, 2021). "'Harmful to Queer Students'". Inside Higher Ed.
  9. ^ Ludlow, Naomi (October 28, 2021). "These are the 'worst, most unsafe' campuses for LGBTQ students to attend". USA Today.
  10. ^ "Lee University". www.leeuniversity.edu. Retrieved 2020-06-26.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2009-10-07.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Billy Graham's life and ministry remembered". The Cleveland Daily Banner. Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  13. ^ "Community Covenant" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
  14. ^ "Lee University – Cleveland, TN – Temporary Outage". Students.leeuniversity.edu. Archived from the original on 2008-09-27. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
  15. ^ "Lee Clarion". LeeClarion.com. Retrieved 2015-04-14.
  16. ^ "Clark Beckham". Lee University. Retrieved 2015-04-14.
  17. ^ "Tennessee General Assembly Main Page". Legislature.state.tn.us. Archived from the original on 2009-01-08. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
  18. ^ "Lee Alumnus Nathan Chapman Stands Out In The Country Music Business – 12/09/2009". Chattanoogan.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
  19. ^ http://www.house.ga.gov/Documents/Biographies/coomerChristian.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  20. ^ [1] Archived March 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Lee University's Micah Massey wins Grammy in tie for best contemporary Christian music song". 2013-02-11.
  22. ^ "Brooke Simpson - NBC.com". NBC. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  23. ^ Hetter, Katia (December 16, 2015). "Fan favorite Jordan Smith wins 'The Voice'". CNN. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  24. ^ "American Idol Season Six Top 24 Contestant Phil Stacey". Americanidol.com. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
  25. ^ Charette, Blaine; Waddell, Robby (2020). Spirit and Story: Pentecostal Readings of Scripture. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Phoenix Press. pp. 1–18. ISBN 9781910928691.
  26. ^ "Zawadzki First Flame to Reach the Majors". 2010-04-30. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-05-03.