OSU's Gee going to West Virginia University

Gordon Gee
Gordon Gee

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — E. Gordon Gee, president emeritus of Ohio State University, is returning to West Virginia University on an interim basis to lead the institution where he began his career as a campus president more than three decades ago, the school said today.

Mr. Gee, 69, will become interim president while the university seeks a permanent successor to Jim Clements, who announced in November his departure at year’s end to head Clemson University. Mr. Gee’s appointment is effective in January, and his annualized salary will be $450,000, university officials said.

The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission unanimously voted to approve the appointment today, a day after Mr. Gee received a unanimous nod from WVU’s board of trustees.

“I am delighted that Dr. Gee has accepted our invitation to lead our state’s flagship, land-grant university while we conduct a national search for a new WVU system leader,” board Chairman James W. Dailey II said in a statement. “He is a seasoned and respected higher education leader who has served five major universities over 33 years, and I am confident he will continue the great work going on here and the momentum this University is enjoying.

“What’s more, he understands the national higher education landscape and is very familiar with our university. We’re thrilled to welcome WVU’s 19th president home.”

Mr. Gee for years has been among the nation’s most visible and highly paid university presidents.

He was twice the president of Ohio State, from 1990-1997 and again from 2007 until July. In between, he served as president of Vanderbilt University from 2000 to 2007 and Brown University’s leader from 1998 to 2000 and the University of Colorado’s president from 1985 to 1990.

But WVU is where his presidential career began. He accepted the post while still in his 30s and served as WVU’s president from 1981 to 1985. Before that, he was dean of WVU’s college of law.

The university’s statement said the interim president will take up residence in Blaney House “and fully participate in the active life of a University president.”

Mr. Dailey said WVU’s board hopes to have a permanent president in place by the fall.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill Schackner is a reporter at the Post-Gazette.

Contact Bill Schackner at: bschackner@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1977 and on Twitter: @BschacknerPG