Lon Morris Students And Faculty Say Goodbye To School's President - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/6/04-Jacksonville

Lon Morris Students And Faculty Say Goodbye To School's President

A final tribute to the life of a well loved leader. Students, faculty and friends gathered Monday to say goodbye to Dr. Clifford Lee, President of Lon Morris College in Jacksonville.  Dr. Lee died of sudden heart failure at his home last Thursday.

In his ten years as president, faculty said Dr. Lee changed the tide on a sinking college campus.  They say when all others had given up, Dr. Lee was determined to keep it open.

"I think I can safely say had he not come here, it would have closed," said Athletic Director Dale Dotson. "The thing that he really did at the school was change the atmosphere.  He changed the mood of the place, the attitude of everybody here."

The school's chapel was too small to hold the overwhelming crowd that turned out to pay their final respects to a man they say gave them all so much.

"Really what he did was touch a lot of people's lives," said Dr. Bill Crowe, President of Tyler Junior College. "He really made a difference in the lives of a lot of students."

The memorial was broadcast across the campus to the students not able to fit inside the chapel, students who say Dr. Lee was not only a leader but a friend.

"There's been a kind of emptiness on campus," said student body president Joseph Bradley. "We know that he's still here in spirit, he's done a lot at this college, he's made a lot of improvements and he will always be here and i think the student's know that."

"He would want the students to continue what they're doing and keep the college functioning as it does."

As part of his legacy, students will return to classes Tuesday, to fulfill the dreams Dr. Lee pushed them to achieve.

Dr. Lee was buried at a private family ceremony this morning. At least 400 people were inside the school's chapel for the service, hundreds more across campus watched the ceremony.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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