Dr. Robert E. “Buzz” Lee received his PhD from the University of Florida. He came to GCSU from Berry College in Rome, GA where he had been Dean of Instruction. During Lee's tenure, the college struggled with many issues including low enrollment, deteriorating campus facilities, integration, and coeducation. The college also underwent three name changes under Lee's presidency: from Georgia State College for Women to The Woman's College of Georgia and finally, Georgia College at Milledgeville. Lee was known for having a good relationship with the majority of students, faculty, alumni, and members of the Milledgeville community. President Lee encouraged quality teaching, faculty research, and made retaining the highest quality of professors the college could afford a high priority. It was also during Lee's tenure that the first graduate program opened in 1958 when the college began offering a Masters of Education.
Despite Lee’s long fight to keep Georgia State College for Women a woman's college, the Board of Regents announced in 1967 that the college would begin accepting male students. The Regents hoped the admission of men would revitalize the college by increasing enrollment and supplying the institution with much needed funding. Lee resigned as President six months after the Board of Regents coeducation announcement and accepted the position as Vice President of Academic Affairs at his alma mater, the University of Florida. Shortly before leaving Milledgeville, Lee and his wife held an open house during which they presented the newly remodeled and redecorated Old Governor's Mansion. Both Dr. and Mrs. Lee had worked to gain funding and support for the Mansion's much needed renovations.