E. Gordon Gee was named West Virginia University’s permanent president Monday. It's the third time he’s been asked to lead the state’s land-grant, flagship research University.
Gee, 70, first served as president from 1981-1985 – hired when he was just 36. He returned in January of this year for a term to replace the departing Jim Clements, and was asked by the WVU Board of Governors today to serve as the University’s permanent 24th president—pending a special meeting of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and its approval.
The Board’s vote, during an emergency meeting, was unanimous. The Presidential Search Committee held an emergency session Friday to endorse Gee for the permanent post and request that the Board amend the search guidelines and take all necessary steps to retain him.
The Board adopted the committee’s recommendation Monday morning.
Dr. Gee’s current contract will remain in place while a new two-year contract, the maximum under statute, is developed.
Gee says he didn't come back intending to stay, but decided he couldn't turn the offer down after spending some time back in Morgantown.
"The institution has made remarkable progress, unlike anything I had even imagined," Gee said.
"I'm really taken with the quality and commitment of our faculty."
Gee says his top priority is to find ways to keep young people in West Virginia.
"I think there are very few institutions which can play a more important role in making a difference in a state and for a people than can this university."