Dr. Paul Conn, Lee University's long-time president, announced to students that he's stepping down after the current school year.

"Over the past several months, my wife Darlia and I have really prayed intently about when I should hand the responsibilities of the presidency to the next person," Dr. Conn said in an email, "In the last few weeks, we've reached the conviction that the time has come, so my plan is to resign formally to the Board of Directors early next year. It is the Board's responsibility to choose my successor, so I have asked them to begin that search process."

Since Dr. Conn became Lee's president in 1986, the university has seen significant enrollment growth and an expansion of the physical campus.

Conn sat down with Channel 3 on Sunday to reflect on his time at Lee University. 

"I'd like to be remembered as the president that kept caring about students," said Conn. 

For the past three decades, Conn has called the campus home. As a leader, his dreams grew the student body from 1,000 students to more than 5,000. 

During his tenure as president, dozens of campus buildings were built and renovated.

"A president is a CEO of a small corporation," Conn told Channel 3. 

In a letter to students and staff, Conn said Lee University will always be in his heart. 

Before he was president, Conn started at the university as a teacher. 

"I actually came to the old Lee college as a young psychology professor straight out of my PHD program-- I came because I loved college students and teaching college students," said Conn. 


Conn says the board of directors at Lee University will begin searching for a new president on Tuesday. He says he won't be involved in selecting his successor and will begin his new role as chancellor next year.