WILSON, N.C. — Barton College is pleased to announce alumnus and trustee John Lee, class of 1979, as the featured speaker for the 113th Opening Convocation. The annual campus event is scheduled for Tuesday, September 2, at 11 a.m. in Howard Chapel.
A significant tradition at Barton College, Convocation signifies the official opening of the academic year, and provides a particularly meaningful milestone for freshmen as they are ushered into the Barton Experience.
“It is an honor to have John Lee join us as the speaker for Barton’s 113th Convocation,” said Dr. Gary Daynes, provost of the college and vice president for academic affairs, and interim vice president for external relations. “His many years of service as a trustee and his support of the College have been important components of Barton’s success. More importantly, his commitment, and that of his businesses, to the well-being of North Carolina’s communities provides a powerful reminder to Barton’s students. A college education is about a student’s personal success, it is true. But that success only takes on full meaning when the student’s family and community succeed as well. John Lee’s life stands as an example of that principle.”
Lee is a longtime member of the Barton College Board of Trustees, serving from 1989 – 2012. He rotated off the Board in 2012 and was invited to serve on the College’s Board of Advisors for one year. Lee was invited to return to the Board of Trustees in 2013 following the required one-year-off rotation.
Born in Rocky Mount, Lee grew up in Elm City and Wilson. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Barton College (then Atlantic Christian College) in 1982. He was named the 1997 Alumnus of the Year at Barton College. And, in 2011, Lee was the recipient of the Wilson-Barton Partnership Business Leadership Award.
Chairman of Lee Motor Group, Inc. in Wilson, Lee oversees the management of ten dealerships in four states, one of which is Lee Ford Lincoln, a dealership in continuous operation since 1953. In addition, he has ownership in various business real estate partnerships and related interests. He also is involved in farming.
Lee is a 32 degree Master Mason of the Mount Lebanon Lodge #117 in Wilson. He also is a member of the Board of Trustees for Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina in Thomasville, N.C.
A licensed Winston Racing Series NASCAR driver from 1993 to 1999, Lee won more than thirty events. With Ford Motor Credit Corporation as a sponsor, he was a NASCAR champion in 1999 when he retired from competition. As a certified private pilot with instrument, multi-engine, sea plane, and rotorcraft ratings with a total of 5,500 hours, he enjoys flying for business and pleasure and looks forward to opportunities for fishing and hunting when time allows.
He and his wife, Lynn, and their daughter, Luisa, now make their home on a farm in Nashville. He and his family are members of the First Baptist Church of Wilson, where he currently serves on the Board of Deacons. The Lees are members of the Barton Society, the Barton College Golden Knot Society, and Barton Athletics’ :45 Club.