Walker Resigns as President of Lee University

Cleveland, TN–Lee University president Dr. Mark Walker has notified the school’s board of directors that he will not seek a second four-year term and will conclude his presidency on May 5, 2024.

Walker announced his decision to the Lee faculty and staff in a meeting Monday afternoon at Pangle Hall on campus. “My wife Udella and I have enjoyed our four years in this role,” he said, “but after lots of prayer and reflection, we are confident that our time as president is now complete.”

May 5 is the date of Lee’s spring commencement exercises, which will be Walker’s final activity as president.


Board chairman Wade Lombard, a Texas businessman, praised Walker’s commitment to Lee during his four years as president and a prior term of three years as Vice President for ministerial development. “We on the board have worked closely with Dr. Walker during these last four years, and all of us appreciate his hard work and dedication to our students and mission.”

Prior to coming to Lee in 2017, the Walkers served for twenty-five years as senior pastors of Mount Paran North Church of God in Marietta, Georgia. Udella Walker is a graduate of Lee, as are their two children, Dr. Justin Walker, a member of the Lee faculty, and Ashten Walker Dick, a resident of Birmingham.

In accepting his desire not to seek a second term, members of the Lee Board of Directors expressed appreciation for his contributions at Lee. “He has the heart of a pastor,” one said in Monday’s meeting, “and that has certainly shown in his care for students and their love for him.” Others noted the many challenges which the president faced during his term, which began in August 2020 at the height of the Covid crisis.

Lombard said the school is planning various events during April to celebrate the Walker presidential legacy and express appreciation for his accomplishments.

The Lee board also voted unanimously to ask Dr. Paul Conn, a long-time veteran of the Lee administration who was Walker’s predecessor, to accept a one-year appointment as President and Chancellor, to lead the school through this transition and begin the search for a new permanent president. Conn has accepted the appointment of the Lee University Board of Directors, to begin May 5.

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