SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The immediate reaction from higher education leaders in West Virginia to the choice of E. Gordon Gee as WVU president was positive.
“He brings that wealth of experience throughout his career back to WVU and I think that’s a good thing,” state Higher Education Chancellor Dr. Paul Hill told MetroNews Friday a few minutes after the state Higher Education Policy Commission signed off on the WVU Board of Governors choice of Gee. The retired Ohio State president will be president at WVU until a national search process is completed for the permanent replacement of department President Jim Clements.
Chancellor Hill said Gee is internationally known in higher education and is also uniquely tied to WVU having been the president there from 1981-1985. Hill predicted going back to Gee would be a good fit.
Chancellor Hill also said having a high-profile president like Gee would help in the search process, which is scheduled to get underway next month. WVU Board of Governors member Drew Payne agreed.
“It elevates the position. It elevates the university when people like that want the job and want to be part of it,” Payne said. “I think it’s going to increase the list of candidates and we’ll get better candidates.”
Payne said the BOG spoke with approximately eight candidates for the interim period before deciding on Gee.
“He’s in the Hall of Fame of presidents–Time Magazine last year named him one of the Top 10 presidents–he started his career at West Virginia. He knows West Virginia. He knows a lot of our people and he knows the school. I just think it’s a natural fit,” Payne said.
The HEPC also approved the presidential search procedure Friday. A search committee will be chosen by the first week of January with advertising for the position to begin by mid-January. The BOG hopes to vote on a new president by the first week of June.
WVU announced Friday Gee’s annualized salary at the university will be $450,000.