Conns to be Honored During Lee Homecoming

Cleveland, TN—In a ceremony and activities put on hold for more than a year due to Covid-19, Lee University will formally celebrate the 34-year presidency of Dr. Paul Conn and his wife Darlia, during Homecoming festivities this weekend.

Part of the activities include the first “Chancellor’s Choice Concert,” one of the featured Homecoming 2021 events, which will take place Saturday, Nov. 6, in the Conn Center at 7:30 p.m. The concert will feature some of the Conn’s favorite musical selections performed by some of their most-beloved artists. The concert is one of two events happening during the Homecoming weekend to recognize and celebrate the Conn’s presidential tenure.

“We look forward to sharing this event with Lee family and the community,” said Dr. Brad Moffett, vice president of university relations. “It will be a night of beautiful music.”

Conn was appointed to lead Lee as president in 1986. The 34-year presidency not only greatly expanded the physical campus and academic curriculum at Lee, but also invested much into the arts. During their tenure, Paul and Darlia Conn established the Presidential Concert Series and hosted hundreds of musical guests for various performances on the Lee campus. Now, as chancellor, Conn continues as part of Lee’s leadership team, and the Chancellor’s Choice Concert will be presented to commemorate and honor the couple’s transition to this new role.

The concert will feature performances by Lee University staff, alumni, and students, including School of Music faculty Dr. Andrea Dismukes and Debbie Sheeks, both Lee alumnae. Returning to their alma matter to also perform at the concert are Chad Stafford and Ryan Wilson. Stafford currently serves as the worship pastor at Eastside Assembly in Tucson, Arizona. Wilson, a Voices of Lee alum, is currently associate pastor at the North Mount Zion Church of God in Hiawassee, Georgia.

Voices of Lee and the Lee University Festival Choir will also perform at the concert. Directed by Danny Murray, the Voices of Lee is a 16-member a cappella student ensemble characterized by a variety of vocal harmonies, high-energy numbers, and heartfelt gospel favorites. The Lee University Festival Choir, directed by Dr. William Green, comprises singers drawn from the seven student choral ensembles at Lee.

The concert is free and open to the public, but tickets will be required and can be reserved at It will also be available via livestream at

The events honoring the Conns will be a highlight of Lee University’s 2021 Homecoming celebration, which begin this Friday, Nov. 5. Hundreds of alumni and family are expected to gather for one of Lee’s most anticipated traditions, filled with events both familiar and new.

“We are so excited to welcome our alumni back home,” said Dr. Susan Ashcraft, director of alumni relations. “We have so much planned for the whole Lee family to enjoy throughout the weekend. There will be a lot of reminiscing, laughing with friends, and making new memories!”

Homecoming check-in will begin Friday morning at 10 and Saturday morning at 8. Alumni will want to be sure to check in as this is where they will receive their Homecoming 2021 T-shirt.

From the 1918 Alumnae Council luncheon to open academic classes across campus, Friday will offer plenty of events for alumni to take part. School and departmental dessert receptions will take place at 3:30, where the annual “Alum of the Year” awards will be presented. At 6, the annual Volley for a Cure volleyball match will take place for Flames athletics fans. Friday’s festivities close with a Lee Theatre production of “Sense and Sensibility” and a celebration of Paul and Darlia Conn’s 34-year impact and legacy at Lee.

The Greek service club breakfasts will take place Saturday morning for a time of reminiscing and reconnecting. From then on, Saturday is packed with events for alumni and their families. The Flame Fair: Alumni Market will feature alums who own small businesses and their products and will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 1 p.m.

A Homecoming Parade, an event that has been absent from Homecoming activities since the 1980s, is returning this Saturday and will take place at 11:15 a.m., right before the first basketball game. The women’s and men’s basketball teams preview their seasons with exhibition games at 12 and 2, respectively. At halftime, the 2021 Homecoming Court will be presented. After basketball, there will be a short film showcase, another “Sense and Sensibility” production, and the Chancellor’s Choice Concert.

For tickets and a detailed list of the Homecoming 2021 schedule, visit For more information, call the Alumni Relations Office at (423) 614-8316 or email [email protected]

(Source: Lee University)

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