Former Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee is headed out of state for a new but temporary job as interim president of West Virginia University.
Gordon Gee retired from his post as president of Ohio State University in July and received a $5.8 million retirement package. He was to stay on at Ohio State as President Emeritus and a tenured law professor after taking a sabbatical.
But about two weeks ago, the chairman of West Virginia University’s Board of Governors approached Gee and asked him to take the helm there on an interim basis and Gee agreed.
The job is actually not new to Gee. He previously served as president of West Virginia University from 1981 until 1985. He says returning to the campus is a way to give thanks.
“West Virginia University and West Virginians have given me a remarkable opportunity at age 36 to become a university president and so this is in some ways an opportunity for me to thank them and pay it forward,” he says.
Gee plans to start work in West Virginia in early January and serve until the school’s board appoints a permanent president. That’s expected happen by next fall.
His annual salary will be $450,000.
Gee says he won’t receive any compensation from Ohio State while he works in West Virginia. But he says he’ll still be available to Ohio State for fundraising, if the school wishes.
And Gee will continue his work in Ohio and nationally on college affordability.
Gee was scheduled to teach next semester at Harvard University, but canceled those plans when he accepted the West Virginia job.
“I had two different opportunities and I took one of the opportunities because of its uniqueness,” he says.
Gee retired from Ohio State after comments he made about Catholics become public. He said those comments did not come up during his discussions with West Virginia University. The school’s board did discuss the comments briefly and concluded they were “not an obstacle” to hiring Gee, according to Inside Higher Ed.