MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The hunt for a new president of West Virginia University took an abrupt turn Friday when the search committee recommended the Board of Governors hire interim E. Gordon Gee for the position permanently.

Gee, who served as university president from 1981-85, took over as interim president last year after Jim Clements left to become president at Clemson.

The search committee, which considered more than 30 applicants,emerged from Friday’s two-hour executive session and approved a motion paving the way for Gee to get the job.

The motion called on the BOG to “take all necessary steps, including any necessary approval by the Higher Education Policy Commission, to move forward in consideration of current president-for-a-term E. Gordon Gee as the permanent president of West Virginia University.’

The Board of Governors has now scheduled an emergency meeting for Monday at 9 a.m.

First, the board must rescind a motion from November that prohibits the interim president from being a candidate for the permanent position. Then the BOG must approve the hiring of Gee, which is viewed as a procedural step with board members unlikely to override the wishes of the search committee.

Gee had considerable support on the search committee, though it was not unanimous. In a conference call vote, it appeared 16 of the 20 members voted for Gee, two opposed (Susan Brewer and Matt Valenti) and two apparently dropped off the call and were unable to vote (Elizabeth Dooley and Cynthia Roth).

Jim Dailey, chair of the search committee and the BOG, strongly supported Gee.

“Gordon Gee is absolutely, hands-down the very best person to be at the helm of West Virginia University at this important time in our history,” Dailey said in a prepared statement. “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 had a change of heart.”

The motion approved by the committee calls on the BOG to enter into a contract with Gee to make him the president of West Virginia University.

Gee said he was honored, energized and humbled by the committee’s recommendation.

“My return to West Virginia has reminded me of the special spirit of this university and the unique role it plays in the state,” Gee said in a prepared statement. “I am also reminded of the warmth and friendship of the people of West Virginia which have been demonstrated over the past few months in full measure.”

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • thornton

    I assume the candidates for the position would feel the bit part they played in this search tableau to have been less than worth their time. Some folks may also find that it is never a good idea to believe that WVU motions actually mean anything past face value...especially, if a fix is in.

    I do expect the fit will be a very good one but the way this was done ..smacks of low shelf.

    • Wowbagger

      I personally think Gee is a good choice.

      As a nearby watcher who has a graduate degree from WVU and occasionally takes a class, but with no other affiliation WVU is far from the most ethical institution of higher learning. I really hope an administrator of Gee's caliber can improve this situation.

    • Walsingham

      Agreed. WVU has not had a great recent history of choosing leadership. By abiding by the process, it would have made it seem more legitimate and less like a planned coup. If this presidency goes south, which I hope it doesn't, who will be held accountable, the defunct search committee or the BoG?

  • mntneerjay

    Why do I seem to remember that he left Ohio State under somewhat dubious terms. Didn't they move him out because of a series of insensative comments or something like that? I want to be excited, but I can't help but remember some black clouds over his exit fro OSU.

    • mtneerinohio

      Gee relates well to the alumni and to the student body. He is a fund raising machine. He comes off genuine and down to earth. His issue at OSU was that his celebrity was overshadowing the university at times. The statement he made about Catholics was at a fund raiser over a year prior to it coming to light. It was not covered by the media, it was for OSU people only, and it was a joke. It would be similar to a WVU person knocking Pitt, unfortunately it pertained to religion (and Catholics God forbid) and hence the over reaction. Someone recorded it on an electronic device and released it when it was convenient for anti Gee supporters. He also took a little heat for not taking a strong stand on the Jim Tressel "tattoo gate". For what it worth, Gee was not fired but elected to resign.

    • Mitch

      All he did was call Notre Dame out for being the lowbrow, dishonest trash that they are. If anything, he should get a medal.

    • Aaron

      You should google it, he was funny as h***

  • Aaron

    Outstanding. It's a great day to be a Mountaineer.

    • Curly Joe

      + 1

  • Bert

    What great news !!! Congratulations President Gee !!!

  • CaptainQ

    Why not? At least Gee is a known quantity who already has a fairly good track record at WVU.

    Besides that, he's old enough to relate to many of the elderly Mountaineer mega-donors out there. Maybe Gee can lead fundraisers by auctioning off his bow ties!

    Good for Gee! There's no substitute for experience!

  • Interesting123

    What will his bow tie budget be every year?

    • Chip Chipperson

      tsss friggin homerun tsss

      like does he have to bow tie his shoes too? tssss

  • WVU 74


    Is this a joke? Is Gee wearing a big grin? Say it isn't so.

    If so, you're doomed. If so, not another cent in contributions or gifts!

    WVU 74
    Class of 1974

    • richard

      WVU74, I seriously doubt the university gives a flying hoot about the contributions or gifts of someone who has time to sit around and comment on blogs about the hire they just made.
      WVU, Great Hire! Congrats!

    • Wowbagger

      You know, with Gee at the helm I just might start donating again :-)

    • Count Me Out 2

      You're right, WVU 74. This will comeback to haunt them. No more annual giving here as well.

      Class of 1981

    • Worm

      I'm sure WVU will miss the $100 bucks. No class of 74. Welcome back president Gee!

    • Clopper

      Whelp, guess that it for WVU. Better pack it in guys, WVU 74 is not going to contribute any longer.

      • susanf1218

        It appears you and 74 are in the minority in your opinion that this was not a good decision. I have no opinion either way, but I am curious as to why you don't approve.

  • aquarius

    this is good news. he knows morgantown, he's well respected in academic circles...and most likely not trying to build a resume to move on. welcome dr gee...continue the good works.

  • Adam

    This is really good news. Gee is a distinguished academic, but doesn't take himself too seriously. He will raise the stature of WVU if he accepts. I would imagine they checked with him to gauge his interest before voting, but who knows if he is interested.

  • Mike

    Best choice they could ever make. Just keep him in Morgantown. Great News ! Welcome back, President Gee!

  • Robert Weaver

    I like this from all aspects. He seems like a great fit for WVU at this time for them as well as this time for him.

    Let's hope there is quick agreement and action by those involved to make this happen ... and hope he accepts.


  • zero tolerance

    One word - CLASS

  • Medman

    This is great news. This man will do the job. Did great work in the 80s and moved on to some of the most prestigious universities. If he accepts, we are lucky.

  • Col.Klink

    I agree Tim, but if he will accept the position, give it to him," Gee is a great "Mountaineer"

  • Tim

    the question that should be asked, is has anyone asked Gee if he'd be interviewing for taking the job permanently, if not this is a waste of the BOG's time.

    • JECO