Lee News

Lee Celebrates 30 Years of Conn Leadership


As a part of Celebration 2016 Lee students, faculty, staff, and alumni acknowledged Dr. Paul Conn’s transformation leadership in his 30 years as Lee University president.

On Monday night, Sept. 26, faculty and staff recognized Dr. Conn and his wife Darlia with a special dinner and a Lee Symphony Orchestra concert featuring ABBA tribute artists Arrival From Sweden.  

Dr. Carolyn Dirksen, director of faculty development and distinguished professor of English, the only member of the Lee family who has been working at Lee longer than Dr. Conn, spoke at Monday’s event about Conn’s journey from psychology professor to university president.

“God’s hand was at work decades before it became evident that Lee’s future depended on Paul and Darlia,” said Dirksen.

Conn was inaugurated as president on Oct. 31, 1986. In his inaugural speech, Conn stated that the goal of Lee is to impress upon students “that the greatest force in human history is produced by the fusion of man's ability with God's power.”

Dr. Eric Moyen, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs, also spoke at the anniversary dinner, commenting on the fulfillment of President Conn’s inaugural speech.

“Tonight we celebrate that after three decades, more than 5,000 individuals who call themselves Lee students learn that excellent effort combined with reliance on God are the cornerstones to a life well lived,” said Moyen.

Dr. Paul 'The King' Conn
Dr. Conn sings "Houndog" with Lee student Cole Tague

Students celebrated the 30-year anniversary on Thursday with a special student-led chapel featuring student reflections, video presentations, and a little bit of Elvis, which can all be viewed at the link below.

“No matter how many ribbon cuttings we have or how many buildings are dedicated, the focus of Dr. and Mrs. Conn is always the hearts and lives of the students,” said student speaker and senior communications major Rebekah Mura during the celebratory chapel.

On behalf of the student body in appreciation for the Conns’ leadership, Dr. and Mrs. Conn were presented several gifts including a box of handwritten cards from students, two quilts made from Lee-themed T-shirts, and a check for more than $6,000 to be divided between the Darlia McCluhan Conn African Student and the Charles W. Conn scholarships.

“I’m so thankful for the Conns and for the tremendously high presidential standard they’ve created,” said sophomore English major Brian Ericson. “The impact of their legacy here at Lee will affect generations to come.”

Students Celebrate the Conns
Dr. & Mrs. Conn honored during student celebratory chapel

To view the student celebratory chapel, visit Celebration Chapel.




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