MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Board of Governors at West Virginia University plan Monday to consider the permanent hiring of interim president E. Gordon Gee.
That follows Friday’s surprising support for Gee from a university search committee that evaluated a nationwide array of more than 30 candidates. The position was scheduled to be filled by June, and Gee is the only candidate who will be considered Monday.
He has been serving in an interim role at WVU since the departure of former president Jim Clements, who is now at Clemson University. Gee was appointed for a term with an annualized salary of $450,000.
Now, the bow-tied Gee said he is interested in staying. “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 statement issued last week.
For the hiring to happen, the BOG must rescind a motion made last November that prohibited the temporary president from being a candidate for the permanent job. That step is on Monday’s agenda. After that, the board members could approve Gee’s hiring and, additionally, seek approval from the state’s Higher Education Policy Commission.
The agenda for Monday’s meeting said the following:
“The Board must immediately consider the retention of President Gee as the University’s permanent president….Given the current circumstances, the University has an imminent and substantial interest in meeting immediately to solidify its future leadership. To that end, it must meet to discuss the potential permanent retention of President Gee.”
Gee served as president at WVU from 1981-1985 after several years as WVU’s law dean. That was followed by stints as president at the University of Colorado (1985-90), Ohio State (1990-97), Brown University (1998-2000) and chancellor at Vanderbilt University (2000-2007).
Gee returned to Ohio State University in 2007 as president and continued to serve there until his retirement in June of last year following controversial comments about Catholics and Notre Dame.
In 2009, Time Magazine named Gee one of the top 10 university presidents in the United States.
Monday’s emergency meeting for WVU’s board was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at Stewart Hall in Morgantown.