(Columbus) - Gordon Gee was officially named at the president of West Virginia University on Friday. He'll take a temporary leave of absence from Ohio State University where he's serving as president emeritus.
WVU’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve the selection, and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission unanimously voted its approval Friday.
WVU hopes to have a new president in place by next fall.
Gee, 69, replaces Jim Clements, who announced in November he would leave the presidency at the end of the year. Gee will live at Blaney House in Morgantown and fully participate in the active life of a university president, according to a news release from WVU.
Despite Gee's leave from Ohio State, he will continue his commitment to lead and complete his work for Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s Quality and Value Initiative. He also will remain involved with the newly established Center for Higher Education Enterprise, approved Thursday at Ohio State.
Deborah Merritt, the John Deaver Drinko/Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law at Ohio State's Moritz College of Law, has been appointed associate director of the center and will coordinate its day-to-day operations.
“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,” said WVU Board Chair James W. Dailey II. “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."
Gee is expected to be on campus Tuesday afternoon for a meet-and greet event.
“West Virginia University is where my journey as a university president began more than three decades ago, so it has always had a special meaning for me. When I was 36, this great land-grant institution gave me an extraordinary opportunity to serve as its president. Indeed, I understand the mission of land-grant institutions, and know the importance of WVU to the state and the university community. I am delighted now to be able to come back - and give back - to the West Virginia University community while also continuing my commitments to Ohio State, as well as higher education in Ohio and nationally,” Gee said.
“West Virginia University will have a strong leader in Gordon Gee,” said Ohio State Interim President Joseph A. Alutto. “Given Gordon’s deep experience and understanding of the power of the land-grant mission in the 21st century, he is certain to move WVU forward in meaningful ways.”
In 2009, Gee was named by TIME as one of the Top 10 university presidents in the United States.
When he became president of WVU, it was widely reported that he was among the youngest college presidents in the United States.
Gee will be paid $450,000 a year by WVU.
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(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)
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