Ohio State President Emeritus E. Gordon Gee might be heading to the hills of West Virginia for the next few months.
After rumors began circulating that Gee was going to be the interim president of West Virginia University Thursday, West Virginia MetroNews reported sources had confirmed Gee was selected.
OSU assistant vice president of media and public relations Gayle Saunders was not able to immediately provide comment on whether he was the mystery selection, which is set to be officially announced Friday at 9 a.m., according to West Virginia MetroNews.
Gee has said before that he was not planning to permanently leave Columbus or OSU again. He was, however, set to spend next semester teaching at Harvard University’s law school.
Gee was present at a Thursday OSU University Senate meeting where he spoke briefly on the proposed creation of a Center for Higher Education Enterprise, and said he would be teaching at Harvard next semester. Gee did not mention anything about WVU and he was not immediately available for comment following the meeting.
He said in October he wasn’t looking to pursue a presidency anywhere else.
“This is my home, and look, I’ve done this longer than any person in this country, and I’ve had the greatest opportunities at the greatest institution one could possibly imagine. But I’m really committed to making a difference by doing what I’m doing now, by actually being engaged in this university family but also engaged in and talking about the issues of higher education,” Gee said in an Oct. 21 interview with The Lantern.
Gee began his career leading higher education institutions at WVU in 1981. He was the dean of WVU’s law school prior to his four-year stint as that university’s president. Gee later was president at Brown University, Vanderbilt University, the University of Colorado and OSU, twice.
The position at WVU likely wouldn’t last long — the WVU Board of Governors expects to select a new president by about June 5, according to West Virginia MetroNews.
Former WVU President Jim Clements was announced as the new Clemson University president Nov. 11.
WVU Board Chairman Jim Dailey II said Thursday he was excited about the interim president selection.
“We are absolutely thrilled with our selection to lead the state’s flagship, land-grant university during an important time in our history,” Dailey said in a prepared statement, as reported by West Virginia MetroNews. “This individual is uniquely qualified to move WVU forward and continue the momentum we are enjoying. We are anxious for our new president to arrive in the new year, and hope that folks will get a chance to say ‘hello and welcome’ very soon.”
Gee retired from the OSU presidency July 1. Former Provost and Executive Vice President Joseph Alutto assumed the interim presidency that day.
Gee announced his decision to retire days after controversial comments he made at a Dec. 5, 2012, OSU Athletic Council meeting came under public scrutiny. Remarks about Notre Dame and the Southeastern Conference in particular brought national attention.
Gee earned slightly less than $1.9 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year.
Gee’s base salary as president emeritus and a tenured professor in the OSU Moritz College of Law is $410,000, to be paid each year from 2013 through June 2018.
Kristen Mitchell contributed to this article.