The Times West Virginian


March 5, 2014

Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president

Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.

That scenario probably won’t happen, but it could. Gee is back where many believe he belongs, and the entire university community seems to be delighted that he is.

It was 33 years ago that Gee was named as president of West Virginia University and he stayed on until 1985 when he left to take a similar position at the University of Colorado.

So when Gee was named interim president of WVU late last year following the resignation of Jim Clemens, the school’s board of governors felt they couldn’t have found a better man as the interim leader.

But Gee may have been placing some ideas in the minds of board of governors leaders when he announced he didn’t wish to be called “interim” president but wanted to be addressed as  “president” while he was serving in that role. At this point, most everyone still considered him to be at WVU on an interim basis and any such leader wouldn’t be considered for the full-time job.

But last Friday, the search committee held at emergency meeting and recommended that the board rescind the November motion disqualifying Gee from permanent appointment. Instead, the committee advised the board instead to take all necessary steps to retain Gee. Chairman James W. Dailey II said it was based in large part on the impact he has already had on the university.

That’s a very positive way of saying that Gee possesses all the qualities being sought in a university president. It certainly wouldn’t have seemed right if the new president that the search committee might have found was lacking in certain qualities owned by Gee, who has those unique skills to impress faculty, students and administration alike, as well as the public, while operating a major university.

“Gordon Gee is absolutely, hands-down the very best person to be at the helm of West Virginia University at this important time and place in our history,” Dailey said Friday. “I know we recruited him to serve until a permanent leader was in place and said the interim president would not be a candidate for the permanent presidency, but the search committee and the board had a change of heart.

“It is clear Gordon Gee has not been a placeholder president by any means; he has been an extraordinary high-energy leader who is getting things done, moving us forward and clearly has the support of our board, senior university leaders, faculty and staff, students, elected officials, higher education peers and opinion leaders. Countless people have urged us from Day One to keep him.”

As others have said, there is no denying he has managed — with help from social media — to cast himself as a not-so-ordinary campus CEO, and in doing so enhanced his homecoming to the place where he got his first presidency at age 36.

In the years since that first presidency and move to Colorado, E. Gordon Gee has served as president of Ohio State, chancellor at Vanderbilt, president at Brown University and the head man at Ohio State for a second time. He still holds several positions at Ohio State on a volunteer basis, and we feel certain any problems about that will be ironed out quickly.

Everyone is aware that Gee has put his foot in his mouth on various embarrassing subjects

“I have regrets when I have said things that I shouldn't have said, but I have no regrets about having a sense of humor and having a thick skin and enjoying life,” Gee said. We feel certain Gee has received ample warnings about these off-the-cuff statements.

Welcome back now to the official “new” president of West Virginia University. We feel sure the unnamed graduate from the early 1980s would welcome him back as well.


Text Only
  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
    The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.

    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

    The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
    Let’s not do that again.

    July 15, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads