About Lee University
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See Lee University

--through the Eyes of our Students! Schedule a tour today!

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Lee University PCSU

Snow in Cleveland, TN

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Lee University Eternal Flame

Honoring Dr. Don Bowdle; 50+ years of service

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Eternal Flame

The Eternal Flame provides an attractive option for outdoor campus seating.

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Conn Center

Serves as the main location for chapel and large student events.

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Great Strides

An event that the Lee community supports for a number of years.

 Lee University is a private, comprehensive university located in Cleveland, TN, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Lee is emerging as a leader in higher education in the southeastern region and is consistently ranked in the "Top Tier" in the South by U.S. News & World Report (Comprehensive Medium-Size Universities). Lee is also ranked by Princeton Review's "Best Colleges" and is one of the 141 colleges named Best in the Southeast.
Over the past two decades, Lee has become one of the largest Christ-centered private institutions in Tennessee and the largest in the Appalachian College Association. During that period, the university has undergone a remarkable transformation that has included significant growth in academic programs, student enrollment, faculty expertise and diversity, as well as an expanded sense of mission and vision.


Lee Quick Stats

Founded in 1918

Lee University’s recent success belies its humble beginnings almost a century ago. In 1918, the Church of God of Cleveland, TN began 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.

Located in Cleveland, TN

Lee University is nestled in a peaceful community in southeastern Tennessee. Cleveland is less than thirty minutes away from Chattanooga, home of the Tennessee Aquarium, the Incline Railway, the Southern Belle Riverboat, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo and, of course, the famous Rock City atop Lookout Mountain. Cleveland is just 20 minutes from the Ocoee River, sight of the 1996 Olympic White Water events. Students can enjoy endless outdoor recreational opportunities. For quick getaways, our campus is also near to Knoxville, the Smoky Mountains and popular Gatlinburg area, and a short commute to Atlanta, GA.

Current enrollment - 4,922

Lee's enrollment has more than quadrupled from 1,214 (Fall 1986) to 4,922 (Fall 2013) under the leadership of Dr. Paul Conn. This places Lee as the 5th largest in undergraduate enrollment among the member institutions of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities ( During that same period, average ACT scores of entering freshmen have increased to 24, and faculty has grown and diversified in order to offer a rapidly expanding slate of academic programs. Since 1986, Lee has added twenty-nine major buildings necessary to serve the students.

Current Freshman Class - 812

The fall 2013 freshman class size is 812 with an average ACT score of 24.

Athletic Division - NCAA Div II

Lee University competes in NCAA Division II as a member of the Gulf South Athletic Conference, which includes teams from Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. Lee’s application was approved in July of 2012 to begin the three year membership process for NCAA DII. Lee University offers varsity competition for women in basketball, tennis, golf, softball, soccer, volleyball, cross-country and track and field and for men in baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, cross country and track and field. Lee’s athletic programs adhere strictly to all university, conference and national regulations involving sports and academics for student athletes. All events are free to students upon presentation of a current identification card.

Lee's Mascot is the Flames

In 1983 the Lee Board of Directors and President Ray Hughes approved changing the college’s mascot name from the Vikings to Flames, much to the dismay of many Lee students and alumni. The president and board were seeking to brighten the entire look and image of the athletic program. Lee’s Paul Dana Walker Arena was being completely upgraded and the basketball teams were playing their games off-campus at Cleveland State Community College. Dr. Hughes and the board viewed this as a perfect time to change the mascot. In those games at CSCC, lighters were often used by many of the fans to show the spirit of the Flames.

When the teams moved back into Walker Arena, a mascot named Sparky (a person dressed in a doggish-like costume) was used for some two or three years. The costume was very hot and volunteers to wear the costume became very hard to find. Sparky slowly but surely faded away.

Over the past 20 years the logo of the Flames has been re-designed on a few occasions and has become a solid brand of Lee University athletics, but another mascot like Sparky has never reappeared.

Sponsored by the Church of God

Lee University is sponsored by the Church of God International Offices, Cleveland, TN. As a Christian university operated under the auspices of the Church of God, Lee University is firmly committed to the conservative, evangelical, Pentecostal religious position of its sponsoring denomination.

50 Majors Offered with over 100 Individual Programs

The Academic Sector of Lee University is made up of five colleges and schools: the College of Arts & Sciences, the Helen DeVos College of Education, the School of Music, the School of Religion and the School of Nursing. There are 14 academic departments and 5 graduate areas of study within the colleges and schools. Lee University offers 50 on-campus undergraduate majors in 112 on-campus programs of study.

Alongside traditional on-campus programs, Lee University’s Division of Adult Learning (DAL) offers fully-online and hybrid programs (at both the Cleveland campus and the Charlotte Center) with today’s adult learner in mind. Never sacrificing convenience for quality, the DAL offers undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in an accredited, Christ-centered setting. This commitment to both academic excellence and unwavering faith is the reason Lee was just named as one of the top 100 online universities by U.S. News and World Report.

Study Abroad – More than 25 trips

The Global Perspectives Program is one of the most unique and exciting opportunities that Lee University offers because it requires students to travel and to study a culture different from their own. Every year, Lee offers between 25 and 30 global perspectives trips, led by our very own credentialed faculty, as an economical and rewarding cross-cultural experience.

Student Clubs - More than 100

Lee University offers its students more than 100 student clubs and organizations designed to enhance their spiritual, intellectual and social development.

Service Learning – Over 90 different opportunities

Service-learning at Lee University is directed by the Leonard Center and is designed to prepare students for Christian citizenship through reflective community interactions that encourage a commitment to the ideals of service, benevolence, civic virtue, and social justice.

Lee University’s community service program was recently ranked among the top 100 in the country by the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency tasked with fostering an ethic of volunteerism and service in America. The corporation not only placed Lee University on the inaugural President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, it also recognized the school’s efforts “with distinction.” Less than 100 schools were named to the honor roll “with distinction” for general community service, and the ranking places Lee alongside such notable schools as Duke, Purdue, LSU, and Stanford.