Dr. Donzell Lee retires from Alcorn after 45 years of service

One of Alcorn State University’s longest-tenured employees says goodbye to the University after four decades of service.

Dr. Donzell Lee, former interim president during the 2018-2019 academic year, is retiring from Alcorn after 45 years. During his tenure, Lee served in numerous positions that include instructor of music and chairman of the Department of Fine Arts, director of the Honors Curriculum Program, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, and interim associate vice president for the Office of Academic Affairs. He was also appointed provost in 2015. Lee holds degrees from Xavier University, Stanford University, and Louisiana State University (LSU).

Initially, Lee said that he planned to only work at Alcorn for one year. That changed once he got acclimated to the University’s surroundings, which caused him to fall in love with the atmosphere around campus.

Leaving his beloved University stirs emotions for Lee.

“I have mixed emotions,” said Lee. “After so many years and so many memories, there will be a void. You can’t dismiss 45 years without some emotions.”

Engaging with his peers and students are two things Lee will miss about working at Alcorn. He expressed gratitude to have been in a position to form bonds with fellow Alcornites.

“I will certainly miss the daily interactions with students and colleagues. Those interactions are the things that have created the Alcorn family for so many.”

Forming these relationships and witnessing the enormous potential at Alcorn inspired Lee to give back to the University. He values the importance of helping the University make strides into the future.

“Giving to the University allows me to help fulfill a need that will help carry out the institution's mission. There is great satisfaction knowing that I helped make a difference for a department, program, or student.”

Alcorn has created many avenues for Lee to find career success and experience personal and professional growth. Lending his support is his way of showing appreciation for all that the University has done for him.

“I have had the opportunity to grow from a young faculty member to the highest administration levels. I have traveled to many places and met so many people, all while enriching myself in knowledge, skills, and positive personal growth. I would not be the person I am today had it not been for Alcorn. I owe this institution a lot.”

Setting a positive example for others has always been a priority for Lee. He hopes that his influence has sparked the motivation for his colleagues and students over the years.

“I realized early in my career that being a great role model was important. I’ve tried to be one for my students and colleagues. That great sense of responsibility cultivated during my tenure here will forever be with me. As leaders, we are here to serve all of our constituents. When we do our job well, we gleefully witness students’ success, faculty and staff growth, and the upward progression of the University. It’s always great to hear from alumni who go on to be successful as professionals in their fields. It feels great when I get calls from students who want to say, ‘Thank you.’”