Gordon Gee’s decision to accept the West Virginia University presidency could save Ohio State an estimated $4 million over five years when his employment with the university ends July 1.
But his relationship with OSU won’t be over.
Former OSU President Gee will be provided lifetime executive health insurance benefits at OSU’s expense after he is no longer employed anywhere else, will be permitted to use “any accrued, but unused vacation leave,” will continue to have a split dollar insurance policy and will retain his president emeritus title, according to a letter senior vice president, senior adviser to the president and general counsel Christopher Culley sent Gee, dated March 26 and obtained by The Lantern Friday.
Gee will also be able to claim the $800,000 OSU added to his retirement continuation plan as part of his post-retirement contract.
OSU spokesman Gary Lewis noted the savings of the new deal.
“The university (has) estimated that it will save approximately $4 million over the five-year period due to Dr. Gee’s acceptance of the permanent presidency of West Virginia University,” Lewis said in an email Friday.
Gee is also set to partially continue his work on OSU’s Center for Higher Education Enterprise as a senior fellow, which Culley noted was because of Gee’s own wish to remain affiliated with the center for “scholarly work.”
Culley thanked Gee in the letter for his decision to contribute the rest of his $1 million pledge for scholarships to OSU, though he is not contractually obligated, a portion of which will go to the Center for Higher Education Enterprise at Gee’s request.
Gee did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment Friday afternoon.
Gee retired from OSU July 1, following an announcement days after controversial remarks Gee made at a Dec. 5, 2012, Athletics Council meeting became public. Comments about Notre Dame and the SEC in particular brought national attention.
Gee’s post-retirement contract with OSU said he was set to keep keep his position as a tenured member of the OSU’s Moritz College of Law faculty and research 21st century education policy, as well as serve as president emeritus.
That contract promised $5.8 million in its terms, to be paid out over a five-year period and including a salary and an annual grant.
In December, though, Gee was appointed president of WVU while it searched for a new permanent leader, but in March, it came out that Gee was a candidate for that position.
He was officially appointed the new president in March and is set to begin July 1, until which point he will remain on unpaid leave from OSU, but his two-year contract details had not been finalized yet. His salary as interim president at WVU is $450,000.
Gee began his career of leading higher education institutions at WVU in 1981. He was the dean of WVU’s law school prior to his four-year stint as president.
Correction: April 18, 2014
A previous version of this article stated the news about Gordon Gee being a candidate for the WVU presidency came out in February, when in fact, it came out in March.