The Ohio State Board of Trustees Friday meeting was the last board meeting for E. Gordon Gee as president of Ohio State University and the first for Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph A. Alutto as interim university president.
Current Chairman Robert Schottenstein deviated from the meeting’s agenda by postponing a discussion on updates to the north residential district project to announce the meeting as the last for Gee as a trustee.
“This has been an interesting week. Most weeks are seven days, but this one felt longer than most,” Schottenstein said in reference to Gee’s retirement announcement on Tuesday.
Gee’s announcement for retirement came after controversial comments he made at a Dec. 5 Athletic Council meeting recently became public. His comments against those “damn Catholics” of Notre Dame and against the academic integrity of the SEC brought national attention.
Schottenstein went on to commend Gee on his “exemplary, extraordinary service,” and allowed every trustee to individually thank the president, who will retire on July 1.
Following Gee’s recognition by each trustee, Gee spoke to the Board. He joked that he now knew how a funeral felt and explained that being a university president “is a challenge under any circumstance.” Gee went on to thank the trustees, citing a great university to be the product of a great board. He stated his hopes to serve the university in the future, and his plans to reorganize and return to writing and research during his retirement.
“I am going to become a better father, a better partner and a better friend,” Gee said.
Gee’s farewell was followed by the welcome of Alutto as the interim university president, effective July 1. The Board unanimously approved Alutto to serve until a new university president is named.
“I am honored and very appreciative of the opportunity to serve as interim president of the Ohio State University. This is a distinguished university at a unique time in its history,” Alutto said. “The opportunity to exceed the robust expectations of the past are very real… It should be clear to all President Gee has enhanced the university in innumerable ways.”
During the meeting at Longaberger Alumni House, the Board unanimously approved all items on the agenda, including the budget for fiscal year 2014, a 2 percent rise in tuition for non-resident undergraduate and graduate students and an approximately $9 million project to add 2,500 seats to the south end zone of Ohio Stadium. Additionally, it was announced that the medical center plans to build a new emergency room and restore the current emergency room to add 106 new rooms to the facility, a project estimated at $4.8 million.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: June 11, 2013
An earlier version of this story stated that E. Gordon Gee made offensive remarks at a Dec. 4 Athletic Council meeting. In fact, the meeting was on Dec. 5.