About Lees-McRae

We have one mission: Lees-McRae educates and inspires students to approach life and work from a creative, collaborative, and critical perspective in preparation for diverse careers and environments. Through common ambition, we maintain our focus on the needs of all learners—residential on the main campus and degree-completion through our online programs. Some are athletes, some are in the honors program, and some are working while returning to school. Regardless of where you are and where you want to go, our expert faculty and committed staff will help you get there. 

Discover your purpose.

Lees-McRae Aerial Video

Honoring Our Past, Building Our Future


After establishing a church, the young and newly ordained, Rev. Edgar Tufts began informal education for local women before developing a boarding school in 1900. Rev. Tufts later started the local hospital and orphans' home.


One of the few colleges in the U.S. named after two women—generous benefactor Mrs. Susanna P. Lees and celebrated North Carolina teacher Mrs. Elizabeth A. McRae. Without either of them, Lees-McRae would not be what it is today.


Edgar Hall Tufts Jr. took over the helm, following the passing of his father in 1923. He served as administrative head of the college and the first president of the Edgar Tufts Memorial Association until his own death in 1942.


Our oldest—and flagship—buildings on campus include the North Carolina Building, Tennessee Residence Hall, Virginia Residence Hall, Tufts Tower, and the Rock House, each built of native stone.


Proud of its Appalachian heritage, Lees-McRae is steeped in traditions to this day. The most notable being Mountain Day—a day off from class to give back to the community and celebrate living in the High Country.


The college’s major milestones include expanding from a two-year institution to a four-year college in 1990. In the early 2000s, the college began remote degree completion programs, and in 2018 added its first graduate program.


Throughout the years, the Bobcats have proven their dominance. From football in our earlier years, to national championships in cycling and conference championships in basketball and softball, teamwork is at the heart of Lees-McRae.


The college was quick to embrace the digital age and grew our distance programs by adding online education—today we are recognized for competitive undergraduate programs and graduate offerings.


Celebrating who we are isn’t just about honoring our past, it’s also about building towards our future. Lees-McRae launched a new Strategic Plan as well as the Facilities Master Plan—both long-term frameworks for how we’ll look in the years to come.

Lees-McRae College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate and master's degrees. Questions about the accreditation of Lees-McRae College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).


Led by Dr. Herbert L. King, Jr., the senior leadership team meets regularly to discuss institutional operations and implement forward thinking initiatives.

Strategic Plan

The strategic plan, developed collaboratively by faculty, staff, and administration, articulates a long-term vision and identifies areas of focus.


Lees-McRae has provided sound education through its motto, “In the Mountains, Of the Mountains, For the Mountains” for more than a century.

Discover your purpose.

Regardless of where you are and where you want to go, our expert faculty and dedicated staff will help you get there.