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About MC

Lee Royce

Lee Gardner Royce provided extraordinary service as Mississippi College’s 19th president from July 2002 through June 2018. Under Dr. Royce’s leadership, the Christian university experienced record enrollment growth, added new academic programs and enjoyed financial success along with a construction renaissance. Dr. Royce pursued the institution’s vision “to be recognized as a university known for academic excellence and commitment to the cause of Christ.” The legacy of Lee Royce and his wife, Rhoda, will live on at Mississippi College. The Royce Medical Science Center is named for the retired Mississippi College leader. The Rhoda Royce Prayer Garden near Alumni Gym remains a beautiful, quiet place for visitors to draw closer to God. Beginning in Fall 2018, the Lee and Rhoda Royce Servant Leadership minor in the School of Education is another tribute. That’s also the case for the endowed Royce student scholarships. Dr. Royce received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the MC School of Law in Jackson. The Royces retired to Northern Virginia to live near their son, Dr. Mark Royce, a college instructor. The former president of Anderson University in South Carolina, Dr. Lee Royce went to work to enhance Mississippi College finances. Concluding in 2011, Mississippi College’s Growing the Vision Campaign raised $87.4 million. The money went for academic programs, scholarships, the university’s endowment, construction and other initiatives. Since Dr. Royce arrived in 2002, enrollment grew from 3,200 students to nearly 5,200. Among the key accomplishments, the nine international students in his first year rose substantially. Today, international students come from 43 nations. The institution’s budget nearly doubled to $75.5 million under his tenure. Construction of the first new residence halls in nearly 20 years, new facilities for athletics, and the modern medical science building reflect the construction boom. The creation of the Spring Scholarship Dinner in 2008 attracted prominent speakers to the campus including former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush while raising more than $3.6 million. In February 2014, Dr. Royce received the outstanding executive leadership award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s District III South region in the South. Dr. Royce was recognized by the Clinton Chamber of Commerce as its Citizen of the Year. During his administration, Mississippi College regularly received strong endorsements in national publications such as “U.S. News & World Report.” Dr. Royce guided Mississippi College to make the move back to NCAA Division II and return to the Gulf South Conference for its sports teams. New academic ventures such as the state’s first physician assistant program began in 2011 and electrical engineering was launched a few years ago. A native of Miami, Florida, Dr. Royce earned his bachelor’s in history, master’s in business management and doctorate in higher education administration, all at Vanderbilt University.