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Published: Saturday, 4/19/2014

OSU gains from Gee’s move

Ex-president’s retirement deal will save big bucks


COLUMBUS — Ohio State University expects to save millions of dollars because former president E. Gordon Gee is giving up part of his retirement package as he becomes president of West Virginia University for the second time.

Mr. Gee stepped down at Ohio State last year and agreed to a deal worth $5.8 million over five years, including an annual salary of $410,000 and a $300,000 annual grant for research and other expenses as he retained tenure as a professor in the law college.

Ohio State spokesman Gary Lewis indicated Friday OSU anticipates saving about $4 million because its obligation to meet some terms of Mr. Gee’s deal ends when he begins his permanent role at West Virginia, where he has been serving as interim president for months.

Mr. Gee will remain on an unpaid leave of absence until then, and his employment with Ohio State ends July 1, according to a letter that was sent to Mr. Gee last month by OSU’s general counsel and released Friday by the school.

The letter indicated Mr. Gee plans to fulfill the rest of his pledge to provide $1 million to Ohio State, part of which may support the Center for Higher Education Enterprise he helped create. He will be considered a senior fellow with the center and he gets to keep his title of president emeritus.

His departure doesn’t affect an $800,000 payment that Ohio State made to a retirement plan for Mr. Gee’s benefit, according to the letter. His deal also still provides lifetime health insurance benefits if he’s not receiving similar benefits through employment elsewhere.

Mr. Gee retired from his second stint as Ohio State president last summer after receiving criticism for remarks he made earlier jabbing Roman Catholics and Southeastern Conference schools. He has apologized for the remarks.

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