A service of celebration began at 10:30 a.m. in the Conn Center and concluded with the dedication and ribbon-cutting at the new Science and Math Complex, a 73,000 square foot structure that was completed in August and stands at the corner of Ocoee Street and Billy Graham Ave. An open house and lunch reception, which was open to students, guests, and the public, was held following the ceremony.
During the Celebration service, a 300-voice choir and wind ensemble performed, preceded by a processional of 200 Lee faculty in academic regalia, 62 alumni, one each from the sixty-two years of Lee’s history on the Cleveland campus, and Lee’s Board of Directors. Lee President Dr. Paul Conn delivered an address which highlighted the occasion and called attention to the last five years of the “Press Toward the Mark” capital campaign.
“God is not nearly finished with us yet,” stated Lee University President Dr. Paul Conn during an address given at the Celebration ceremony. Conn spoke of past blessings upon the university and thanked the many major donors, community leaders and others who helped make the campaign possible. He declared the progress of the last 25 years at Lee University as going from “survival to success to significance…we are in a position for a future we could never have even dreamed. The possibilities are infinite!”
Following the close of the ceremony, the packed Conn Center crowd proceeded across campus to the eastern porch of the Science-Math Complex, where hundreds of cheering students lined the walkway. Cutting the ribbon on the building were Dr. Lois Beach, Carolyn Medlin, and President and Mrs. Conn. The east wing of the complex is being named for Beach, while the western laboratory wing will honor the late Don Medlin and his widow, Carolyn.
Morning classes were cancelled to allow the students join the festivities and join other guests for one of forty special seminars conducted simultaneously across campus at 9:00 a.m. that morning. Seminars featured lecturers from alumni and other guest speakers on a variety of topics, including religion, medicine, the arts, communications, business, benevolence and history.
Lee University has been staging events to “celebrate” the Lord’s blessings on the Church of God institution since 1988 when a former library was renovated into a classroom building and a city street was closed and converted to a pedestrian mall. Beginning with the first ‘Celebration’ in 1990, this special event has taken place nine times on campus. The last was in 2006 when the $25 million Press Toward the Mark capital campaign was already underway. Today’s Celebration officially closed the campaign, which in five years exceeded the goal by over $9 million, raising in excess of $34 million. The campaign realized enough funds to build a classroom building for the School of Religion, build a greatly enlarged and renovated Paul Dana Walker Arena, construct a Health Clinic and offices for the Leonard Center, buy property adjoining the campus, fund new endowed scholarships, upgrade the computer infrastructure and build a new science and math complex. The additional funds allowed other projects to be added to the original goal, including three new housing units, all of which were built and occupied this year.
In addition to the Friday morning event, the 62 VIP alumni, as well as other out-of-town guests gathered on Thursday evening for a Celebration banquet. Also recognized was Dr. Earl Tapley, the academic vice president of Lee College when it began operations on the local campus in 1947. On Tuesday afternoon, Lee University welcomed to the campus Richard and Helen DeVos of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The DeVoses were recognized with “DeVos Day” on the campus for their more than 20 years of financial support as the largest donors in Lee University history.