Lee University

The information in this column was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 10/26/2020. 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 rating378 of 91352 of 111
Fund acquisition rating175 of 91521 of 111
Resource allocation rating538 of 91564 of 111
Asset utilization rating544 of 91372 of 111

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$5,055,049$5,869,286$7,792,216$9,872,332$9,316,757
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$10,124,819$9,451,360$15,416,129$16,305,239$15,189,368
Long-term investments$22,766,575$21,415,236$21,196,587$19,960,473$19,024,562
Fixed assets$149,254,093$147,233,249$142,992,374$131,864,274$126,194,271
Other long-term assets$1,510,636$2,099,987$2,486,474$2,837,971$2,694,879
Total long-term assets$173,531,304$170,748,472$166,675,435$154,662,718$147,913,712
Total assets$183,656,123$180,199,832$182,091,564$170,967,957$163,103,080
Payables and accrued expenses$5,618,854$5,173,355$7,166,926$5,511,094$4,277,301
Other current liabilities$1,971,364$1,912,922$1,814,157$1,860,514$2,130,313
Total current liabilities$7,590,218$7,086,277$8,981,083$7,371,608$6,407,614
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$4,648,471$4,634,628$3,795,239$4,561,598$4,017,626
Total long-term liabilities$27,223,567$26,511,311$28,844,138$24,412,032$24,280,336
Total liabilities$34,813,785$33,597,588$37,825,221$31,783,640$30,687,950
Net assets20192018201720162015
Without donor restrictions$129,036,602$128,138,437$124,137,384$118,466,840$113,058,465
With donor restrictions$19,805,736$18,463,807$20,128,959$20,717,477$19,356,665
Net assets$148,842,338$146,602,244$144,266,343$139,184,317$132,415,130
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$7,441,775$7,062,255$8,197,437$10,620,636$8,703,165
Program service revenue$97,951,222$93,900,077$87,376,906$81,733,720$77,688,142
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$1,036,906$950,978$827,472$1,371,676$1,001,335
Other revenue($64,579)($65,390)($64,888)$16,937$0
Total other revenue$98,923,549$94,785,665$88,139,490$83,122,333$78,689,477
Total revenue$106,365,324$101,847,920$96,336,927$93,742,969$87,392,642
Program services$86,759,168$81,628,887$75,815,811$71,773,202$69,328,912
Management and general$17,739,145$17,811,875$16,227,494$13,675,962$14,270,771
Total expenses$104,498,313$99,498,739$92,101,282$85,449,164$83,599,683
Change in net assets20192018201720162015
Surplus (deficit)$1,867,011$2,349,181$4,235,645$8,293,805$3,792,959
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$1,867,011$2,349,181$4,235,645$8,293,805$3,792,959


Paul ConnPresident$199,221
Mark WalkerVP For Ministerial Development$186,884
Chris ConineChief Financial Officer$179,206
Michael HayesVP of Student Development$153,659
Jayson VanhookVP For Info Sys/Assoc Prof$149,068
Sara CampbellDean of School of Nursing$144,605
Deborah MurrayChief Academic Officer$128,459
William EstesDean College of Education$122,996

Compensation data as of: 6/30/2019

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 10/26/2020. 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

Lee is emerging as a leader in higher education in the southeastern region and was ranked in 2010 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 now one of the 141 colleges named Best in the Southeast. Christian Universities Online identified Lee University as the most affordable Christian College in the United States.