Mary Posani / Lantern photographer
President E. Gordon Gee was surrounded by about 100 Ohio State students dancing “The Cupid Shuffle” in a group fitness room of the RPAC Thursday to celebrate Gee’s 68th birthday.
The Office of Student Life hosted a surprise birthday party for Gee inviting several students from a variety of student organizations and groups. The event consisted of an organized dance party and featured a healthy spread of food.
“I thought I was just coming to a student event,” Gee said. “I thought I was coming to have a chance to meet and talk to a few students about the university. I had no idea we were going to have a dance party. Oh, how fun.”
Co-coordinator of the event, Emily Fitz, a first-year in nutrition, said the dancing and healthy snacks were meant to supplement Gee’s position for a healthier OSU campus.
“Dr. Gee wants our campus to be the healthiest campus,” Fitz said. “So instead of cake for his birthday, we’re doing healthy dips.”
OSU cheerleader, Brooke Arthur-Mensah, a third-year in biology and Spanish, led Gee and the students in two dances, “The Wobble” and “The Cupid Shuffle.”
“We’re teaching dances that everybody already knows, but are fun, to get everybody involved for his birthday,” Arthur-Mensah said. “Gee is amazing at reaching out to the student body so there are people from every aspect of the campus coming today.”
Gee said he loves dancing of all kind, even if those dances weren’t his usual style. He addressed the students after the initial surprise and “Happy Birthday Song,” and seemed enthused.
“What in hell’s sake are you guys doing here?” Gee said to students. “You should be in class.”
Gee was grateful and appreciative of the OSU students in attendance and in general.
“You know sometimes you forget it’s your birthday,” Gee said to the students. “My daughter asked me this morning she said, ‘Dad, how do you feel?’ and I said I feel a lot younger than I did yesterday, and that’s because of all of you.”
The food at the party was provided by University Catering and The Office of Student Life offered dip recipe leaflets for the students.
“It’s one of the discovery themes of the university,” said Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president of Student Life. “There are three of them, and one of them is health and wellness, so we are supporting that in all of the things that we do in Student Life.”