• CHARLES “PAUL” CONN has served as president of Lee University for twenty-eight years. During his administration, the university has seen significant growth: enrollment has increased from 1200 to over 5000, the physical campus has been substantially enlarged and rebuilt, and the school’s reputation as a regional leader has been established.


    Conn earned the Ph.D. degree in psychology from Emory University in 1974. Subsequently, he has spent three years at Harvard University as a postdoctoral student in the Graduate School of Education, studying with Lawrence Kohlberg (1978), David Breneman (1993), Derek Bok (1998), Suarez Orozco (2003), Robert Kegan (2008), and Rick Weissbourd (2013). He was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Divinity School in 1982. He did his undergraduate work at Lee College and Georgia State University, and earned a M.A. degree at Emory.


    Conn has served two terms as a Commissioner of the SACSCOC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges), including two years as a member of the Executive Committee of the Commission. He is currently serving as an elected member of the Appeals Committee of the COC.

    Conn has also served on the Board of Directors of the Council of Independent Colleges and was chairman of the President’s Council of the Southern States Athletic Conference. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Appalachian Colleges Association and on the board of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association. He has served three three-year terms on the national board of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.


    In 2001 Conn was the recipient of the M.C. Headrick Award, given by the Chamber of Commerce annually to the most outstanding CEO in the Cleveland/Bradley community in Tennessee. He also received the 1996 Otis Floyd Award from the Tennessee College Public Relations Association, given to the most outstanding higher education executive in Tennessee.


    Conn joined the Lee College faculty as an instructor in 1972 and reached the rank of Professor of Psychology twelve years later. He has served continuously at Lee, except when engaging in postdoctoral study and a summer appointment as Visiting Professor of Psychology at Appalachian State University. As president, he regularly teaches one undergraduate psychology course each year at Lee. 

    In addition to his scholarly publications, Conn has enjoyed a second career as a free-lance writer. He has authored or co-authored 20 popular books, sharing by-lines with such personalities as Johnny Cash, pro football star Terry Bradshaw, businessmen Jack Eckerd and Richard DeVos, and many others. Four of his books have been listed on the New York Times bestseller list, and his book The Possible Dream was the #7 bestselling non-fiction book of 1977, according to Publishers Weekly.


    Conn is married to Darlia McLuhan; together they have three children and ten grandchildren.