West Virginia University announced today E. Gordon Gee was named the college's permanent president, the third time he's been asked to lead the state's land-grant.
Gee, 70, first served as president from 1981-1985 hired when he was just 36. He returned in January 2014 for a term to replace the departing Jim Clement and was asked by the WVU Board of Governors Monday to serve as the University's permanent 24th president, pending a special meeting of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and its approval.
The board's vote, during an emergency meeting, was unanimous. The Presidential Search Committee had met in emergency session Friday to endorse Gee for the permanent post and request that the board amend the search guidelines and take all necessary steps to retain him. The board Monday adopted the committee's recommendation.
President Gee reaffirmed his love and commitment to West Virginia University, saying, "When I had the opportunity to return to West Virginia and this university earlier this year I did not hesitate. And, I have found it to be the same wonderful and welcoming place I remembered. And, with great joy, I also found that our University had grown, matured and was competing on the national academic stage with some of the very best land-grant research universities in the country. I am honored, energized and humbled to serve West Virginia University as the 24th president."
Lisa DiBartolomeo, faculty representative to the Board, said, "Dr. Gee comes back to West Virginia University with an outstanding and singular background. The faculty and Faculty Senate are excited to partner with him as we move forward."
"President Gee has been engaged with classified staff since his arrival on campus two months ago," Dixie Martinelli, classified staff representative on the board, said. "This appointment will enable classified staff to continue the dialogue regarding much needed salary increases."
Staff Council President Lisa Martin also applauded the appointment. "I am pleased that President Gee has accepted a more permanent role at West Virginia University," Martin said. "He has shown a genuine interest in classified staff issues and this will allow us to continue our work toward positive changes for staff."
Ryan Campione, student representative on the board, commented on behalf of students, saying, "In a short amount of time President E. Gordon Gee has warmly embraced the student body, engaging with us in all different facets of student life. Students greatly appreciate his caring involvement and are overwhelmingly thrilled to see him continue as president and as our friend."
Gee has twice served as president of Ohio State University, from 1990-1997 and later from 2007 to July of this year when he was named President Emeritus. He was also president of Vanderbilt University (2000-2007), Brown University (1998-2000), the University of Colorado (1985-1990) and WVU (1981-1985; Jan.-Feb. 2014; and March 2014 and beyond). He also served as the dean of the WVU College of Law from 1979-1981.