Cleveland, TN–Lee University recently dedicated the fellowship hall and courtyard of The Chapel in memory of former Church of God Assistant General Overseer Dr. John D. Nichols.
Nichols, who passed away in March 2009, was a former chairman and liaison to the Lee University Board of Directors. His life of ministry spanned nearly six decades and included a wide variety of appointments and elected positions, including assistant general overseer of the Church of God, founder of Care Ministries, and executive director of the Lazarus Foundation. Nichols received an honorary doctorate from Lee University in 1987.
The Lee Chapel, which was formally opened and dedicated in November of 2011, has quickly become a centerpiece of the 125-acre campus. In its first year of operation it has been the site of numerous worship celebrations, prayer gatherings, concerts, and club formal inductions. It has also become perhaps the most popular wedding venue in Cleveland and Bradley County, hosting an average of four weddings a month since December 2011.
Lee President Dr. Paul Conn spoke at the September 27 dedication, along with Dr. John Gregory and Nichols’ daughter, Jeannie Nichols Gooch. Music was provided by Lee’s a cappella ensemble Voices of Lee. Also in attendance was Nichols’ wife of 57 years, Norene.
Through his friendship with Gregory, founder and managing partner of SJ Strategic Investments LLC, Nichols created the vision for the Leonard Center, a service learning initiative bringing a new dimension to the life of Lee University.
The Chapel is a $3 million structure which became a reality last year with the help of several donors. Although the lower level reception hall was completed at the time of the formal dedication of The Chapel in November 2011, recognition for Nichols and his legacy was reserved until Phase 2 of the courtyard of The Chapel was completed last month.