West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission formally appoints Gee as WVU president

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E. Gordon Gee’s permanent return to West Virginia University as its president was approved today in a special meeting by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

The vote comes a week after WVU’s board of governors agreed to forgo an ongoing presidential search and instead make the 70-year-old Mr. Gee’s interim presidency a permanent one.

“President Gee is a vibrant leader with unmatched credentials whose homecoming has been warmly welcomed at West Virginia University,” Bruce Berry, the panel’s chair, said in a statement. “We look forward to working closely with President Gee and the entire campus as we strive to increase opportunities for our students and expand the positive impact of higher education on West Virginia’s communities.”

Mr. Gee will continue to receive $450,000 in annualized salary through June 30, during which WVU and its 24th president will finalize a two-year contract.

“I am deeply honored and very energized to return to West Virginia University,” Mr. Gee said in a statement. “As most people know, this is the University and the state that gave me my first opportunity to lead a major university – and I am as passionate today as I was then to make a difference in the lives of our citizens.”

Mr. Gee began his interim presidency in January as the university sought a successor to Jim Clements, who left WVU at year’s end to assume the presidency of Clemson University. The board of governors in November passed a resolution disqualifying Mr. Gee from being a permanent candidate but reversed itself earlier this month, citing his performance during two months in office.

Mr. Gee was appointed to his first presidency at WVU from 1981, when he was 36, and served until 1995.

Before returning to WVU in January, he was twice president of The Ohio State University, from 1990 to 1997 and later from 2007 to July of last year. He was also president of Vanderbilt University from 2000 to 2007, president of Brown University from 1998 to 2000, and president of the University of Colorado from 1985 to 1990.

Bill Schackner: bschackner@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1977 and on Twitter: @BschacknerPG.

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