Lincoln Memorial University


E. Clayton Hess Succeeds Dawson as 21st President of LMU

Harrogate, Tennessee, July 1, 2017— Dr. E. Clayton Hess is now serving as the 21st president of Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) succeeding Dr. B. James Dawson. The LMU Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Hess president in November of 2016.

Hess has been a member of LMU’s academic community for four decades. He started his career at LMU in 1981, shortly after graduating. Most recently, he served as the University’s provost, since 2015, and the vice president for academic affairs since 2010. Hess has served on the President’s Cabinet twice during his career; first from 1998-2001 and again from 2010 to the present. He chaired the University’s successful Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) reaffirmation of accreditation from 2006-2009 and is poised to lead LMU through its next 10-year site visit.

Hess has guided LMU’s growth at all levels, chairing multiple committees responsible for substantive change proposals to initiate new extended learning sites offering associate, baccalaureate, post-baccalaureate, graduate and professional degree programs. He chaired the committee responsible for degree level accreditation change from Level IV to V to pave the way for LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, and from Level V to VI for subsequent professional programs including LMU Duncan School of Law, LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine and doctoral programs in business, education and nursing.

Hess coordinated LMU’s strategic planning and institutional effectiveness processes for more than 10 years and has chaired the University’s general education committee. Prior to becoming provost and VPAA, he was assistant vice president for academic affairs for planning and accreditation. In that role he was responsible for monitoring compliance with accreditation/approval requirements of several state and federal agencies/associations and conducting on-going efforts to assess the effectiveness of LMU’s academic and administrative operations.

Hess began his career at LMU as the assistant director of admissions, director of testing and director of career planning and placement. He was named the director of institutional advancement in 1996, and the director of institutional research, effectiveness and accreditation in 1998.

Hess has served as a member of the SACSCOC Principles Review Committee, charged with reviewing and recommending changes to SACSCOC accreditation standards and processes. He has presented numerous sessions and talks at professional association meetings. Hess co-chaired the 2014 SACSCOC Annual Meeting Planning Committee. He also served on American Bar Association (ABA) Sabbatical Site Teams.

Hess earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and two masters degrees from LMU (one in counseling and the other in curriculum and instruction) and a Ph.D. in human services counseling from Walden University. Hess has four grown children and five grandchildren. He resides in LaFollette, Tennessee.

Hess’s inauguration will take place at 3 p.m. on Friday, October 13, 2017, during the University’s Homecoming festivities.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at





423.869.3611 | 800.325.0900
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752