Lees College Campus began its historic educational service in 1883 when itinerant Methodist minister John Jay Dickey left central Kentucky to seek students to attend Kentucky Wesleyan and to establish schools in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. He remained in the area and founded a school known as Jackson Academy.
In 1891, Central University of Richmond (Kentucky) assumed ownership and control. At this time, Mrs. Susan P. Lees of New York City, New York became interested in the Academy and began providing financial support. In honor of her generous endowment, the school was renamed S.P. Lees Collegiate Institute in 1897.
In 1906, the Synod of Kentucky, Presbyterian Church, U.S., assumed responsibility for the Institute and maintained that relationship until the 1970 merger between the Synod of the Covenant (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio) of the united Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and the Synod of the Mid-South (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi) of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.
In 1927, a major change occurred when the school was re-chartered as a two-year college and named Lees Junior College, later becoming Lees College.
In 1996, Lees College merged with Hazard Community College which later became Hazard Community and Technical College, part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Lees College, Inc. continues to financially support the campus and its students today, especially through its generous scholarship program.