Candice Storey Lee has been reappointed as Vanderbilt University’s vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director, Chancellor Daniel Diermeier announced today. The reappointment is for a five-year term beginning July 1, 2023.
A former standout student-athlete at Vanderbilt and three-time graduate of the university, Lee was named to the vice chancellor and athletic director role in May 2020. She is Vanderbilt’s first female athletic director and the first Black woman to head an athletics program in the Southeastern Conference.
“Candice Lee’s pathbreaking tenure at Vanderbilt has included the transformation of our athletics program through Vandy United and tremendous progress toward our goal of making Vanderbilt Athletics a second-to-none experience in all of college sports for our student-athletes, alumni and fans,” Diermeier said. “Candice embodies our university’s rich values and is a tireless advocate for our student-athletes’ success. I look forward to continuing our collaboration, with the goal of taking Vanderbilt Athletics to unparalleled new heights.”
Announced in March 2021, Vandy United, part of the university’s Dare to Grow comprehensive campaign, is Vanderbilt’s bold investment in its athletic programs. As part of the initiative, Vanderbilt announced in April 2023 the creation of the Frist Athletics Village. Made possible by an unprecedented philanthropic gift from Vanderbilt trustee Jennifer R. Frist, BS’93, and William R. (Billy) Frist, the complex encompasses the entirety of the campus neighborhood that is currently home to Vanderbilt Athletics and many key Vandy United initiatives. In May, the university announced that Vandy United had achieved its initial $300 million fundraising goal—the largest campaign in the history of the athletics program.
Projects that have been announced or are currently underway include a new football operations center; a significant renovation and expansion of the McGugin Center; a new indoor practice facility for football; a new basketball operations center; the newly expanded and enhanced Lummis Family Tennis Center; major updates to the Vanderbilt Legends Club, home of the men’s and women’s golf teams; and significant enhancements to Hawkins Field, home of VandyBoys baseball. Upgrades to Vanderbilt Stadium to improve the fan experience will include premium seating, new hospitality space, upgraded food and beverage options and more.
In August 2022, Vanderbilt announced a 10-year football stadium naming rights and campus collaboration agreement with FirstBank in alignment with the Vandy United goal of broadening opportunities for community engagement.
In November 2022, the university announced the creation of the Ingram Center for Student-Athlete Success, to be funded with part of the lead gift to the Vandy United campaign made by longtime supporter and Board of Trust member John R. Ingram. Housed within the McGugin Center, this initiative represents a restructured approach to how Vanderbilt Athletics supports academic, personal and career development.
Vanderbilt student-athletes continue to excel in the classroom, having exceeded a 3.0 grade-point average for the 17th consecutive year—including a record 3.38 GPA earned this academic year.
During Lee’s tenure as vice chancellor and athletic director, Vanderbilt student-athletes have earned two national championships (including bowling’s third national title in April, and Gordon Sargent’s individual national title in men’s golf in 2022) and six conference championships. She also led efforts to restore volleyball as Vanderbilt’s 17th varsity sport, announced in April 2022 during the 50th anniversary of Title IX.
A team captain, four-year letter winner and five-time SEC Academic Honor Roll honoree as a member of the Vanderbilt women’s basketball team, Lee helped lead the Commodores to an SEC Tournament championship and NCAA Elite Eight appearance in her final season in 2002. She graduated from Vanderbilt with a bachelor of science in human and organizational development in 2000 and received her master’s degree in counseling in 2002 and her doctorate in higher education administration in 2012.
In 2021, Lee received Vanderbilt Peabody College’s Distinguished Alumna Award. Members of Vanderbilt’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee awarded her the inaugural Staff Appreciation Award in 2022 in recognition of her leadership. Also in 2022, Lee was named Athletic Director of the Year at the Black Student-Athlete Summit. She currently serves or has served on the boards of directors for the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Nashville Sports Council, YWCA of Middle Tennessee and The Family Center.
“I’m grateful to Chancellor Diermeier for his partnership and commitment to our shared vision for what is possible at Vanderbilt. It’s an honor to serve the student-athletes who choose to be Commodores and the lifelong community of alumni and supporters who make this university special,” Lee said. “And a special thank you to our dedicated coaches and staff and my campus colleagues for their trust and support.
“As a new athletic year approaches and we move forward, much hard work remains,” Lee said. “But with each shovel in the ground and each victory on the field of play, we dare to grow. I know the best days are ahead for Commodore Nation. I can’t wait to continue our journey.”