Lee University

The information in this column was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 8/18/2021. To update the information in this column, please email: info@ministrywatch.com


Lee University is a private, comprehensive university located in Cleveland, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The university's growing reputation as a quality institution can be seen in the high caliber of faculty, students, and friends who are drawn to the campus. This marks the 30th straight year of increased enrollment under the leadership of president, Dr. Paul Conn (no longer President). 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.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Lee University
1120 N. Ocoee Street
Cleveland, TN 37311

Website: leeuniversity.edu

Phone: 800-533-9930

Email: info@leeuniversity.edu

Organization details

EIN: 620502739

CEO/President: Dr. Mark Walker

Chairman: Dennis Livingston

Board size: 20

Founder: Nora Chambers

Year founded: 1951

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 06/30

Member of ECFA: No

Member of ECFA since:


A personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior is the controlling perspective from which our educational enterprise is carried out. The foundational purpose of all educational programs at Lee is to develop within the students knowledge, appreciation, understanding, ability, and skills which will prepare them for responsible Christian living in a complex world.

Mission statement

Lee is a Christian institution which offers liberal arts and professional education on both the baccalaureate and graduate levels through residential and distance programs. We seek to provide education that integrates biblical truth as revealed in the Holy Scriptures with truth discovered through the study of arts and sciences and in the practice of various professions.

Statement of faith

For your reference, following is the Declaration of Faith as provided by the Church of God, Lee University's sponsoring denomination. Faculty members at Lee University agree in their contracts not to propagate any religious doctrines, teach or publish anything contrary to the Declaration of Faith. We believe:

In the verbal inspiration of the Bible.

In one God eternally existing in three persons; namely, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

That Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the Father, conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary.

That Jesus was crucified, buried, and raised from the dead. That He ascended to heaven and is today at the right hand of the Father as the Intercessor.

That all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and that repentance is commanded of God for all and necessary for forgiveness of sins.

That justification, regeneration, and the new birth are wrought by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.

In sanctification subsequent to the new birth, through faith in the blood of Christ, through the Word, and by the Holy Ghost.

Holiness to be God's standard of living for His people.

In the baptism with the Holy Ghost subsequent to a clean heart.

In speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance and that it is the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

In water baptism by immersion, and all who repent should be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

That divine healing is provided for all in the atonement.

In the Lord's Supper and washing of the saints' feet.

In the pre-millennial second coming of Jesus. First, to resurrect the righteous dead and to catch away the living saints to Him in the air. Second, to reign on the earth a thousand years.

In the bodily resurrection; eternal life for the righteous, and eternal punishment for the wicked.

Transparency grade


To understand our transparency grade, click here.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Colleges/Universities

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating422 of 94059 of 112
Fund acquisition rating105 of 94212 of 112
Resource allocation rating587 of 94269 of 112
Asset utilization rating653 of 94088 of 112

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$5,344,074$5,055,049$5,869,286$7,792,216$9,872,332
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$25,129,616$10,124,819$9,451,360$15,416,129$16,305,239
Long-term investments$28,582,875$22,766,575$21,415,236$21,196,587$19,960,473
Fixed assets$146,482,976$149,254,093$147,233,249$142,992,374$131,864,274
Other long-term assets$1,208,545$1,510,636$2,099,987$2,486,474$2,837,971
Total long-term assets$176,274,396$173,531,304$170,748,472$166,675,435$154,662,718
Total assets$201,404,012$183,656,123$180,199,832$182,091,564$170,967,957
Payables and accrued expenses$7,288,057$5,618,854$5,173,355$7,166,926$5,511,094
Other current liabilities$2,876,668$1,971,364$1,912,922$1,814,157$1,860,514
Total current liabilities$10,164,725$7,590,218$7,086,277$8,981,083$7,371,608
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$15,287,533$4,648,471$4,634,628$3,795,239$4,561,598
Total long-term liabilities$38,980,067$27,223,567$26,511,311$28,844,138$24,412,032
Total liabilities$49,144,792$34,813,785$33,597,588$37,825,221$31,783,640
Net assets20202019201820172016
Without donor restrictions$131,490,979$129,036,602$128,138,437$124,137,384$118,466,840
With donor restrictions$20,768,241$19,805,736$18,463,807$20,128,959$20,717,477
Net assets$152,259,220$148,842,338$146,602,244$144,266,343$139,184,317
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$11,468,687$7,441,775$7,062,255$8,197,437$10,620,636
Program service revenue$94,206,766$97,951,222$93,900,077$87,376,906$81,733,720
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$691,561$1,036,906$950,978$827,472$1,371,676
Other revenue($263,005)($64,579)($65,390)($64,888)$16,937
Total other revenue$94,635,322$98,923,549$94,785,665$88,139,490$83,122,333
Total revenue$106,104,009$106,365,324$101,847,920$96,336,927$93,742,969
Program services$84,697,483$86,759,168$81,628,887$75,815,811$71,773,202
Management and general$18,178,260$17,739,145$17,811,875$16,227,494$13,675,962
Total expenses$102,875,743$104,498,313$99,498,739$92,101,282$85,449,164
Change in net assets20202019201820172016
Surplus (deficit)$3,228,266$1,867,011$2,349,181$4,235,645$8,293,805
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$3,228,266$1,867,011$2,349,181$4,235,645$8,293,805


Paul ConnPresident$219,447
Chris ConineChief Financial Officer$181,356
Mark WalkerVP For Ministerial Develop$178,898
Michael HayesVP of Student Development$159,154
Jayson VanhookVP For Info Sys/Assoc Prof$149,027
Sara CampbellDean of School of Nursing$145,339
Bradley MoffettProfessor$131,340
Deborah MurrayChief Academic Officer$130,280

Compensation data as of: 6/30/2020

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 8/18/2021. To update the information below, please email: info@ministrywatch.com


Founded as the Bible Training School in 1918 by the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee, the institution was renamed in 1947 to honor its second president, the Reverend F. J. Lee, and attained university status in 1997. The original purpose was to provide both general and biblical training for those persons entering the Christian ministry, and through the years Lee University has continued this purpose of "ministry," ever more broadly defined to include both church and non-church vocations. Many of the students are affiliated with the Church of God; however, numerous students come from other denominations.

Program accomplishments

Here are some of our recent rankings:

Lee continues in the "top tier" of the 2020 "Best Colleges" edition of U.S. News & World Report and has appeared in four specialty rankings: "A+ For B Students," "Best Value School," "Best Colleges for Veterans," and "Best Colleges for Undergraduate Teaching."

Christian Universities Online identified Lee University as the most affordable Christian College in the United States.

Lee's Division of Adult Learning is ranked in the top 50 of the U.S. News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs and was also ranked #33 out of 60 on "Top 60 Most Affordable Accredited Christian Colleges and Universities Online for 2019."

Lee ranks #2 out of 25 private universities listed among the "50 Great Affordable Colleges in the South" by Great Value Colleges.

Lee ranks #23 out of 30 national universities listed among "30 Affordable Colleges with the Best Study Abroad Programs 2018" by Great Value Colleges


In 2019, Lee ranked #25 out of 50 in the "50 Most Affordable Bachelor's in Religious Studies and Theology Online for 2019."