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During an emergency meeting of the West Virginia University presidential search committee Friday, a motion was introduced by staff representative Dixie Martinelli, to take all necessary steps to retain the University’s current president, E. Gordon Gee, as the permanent president.
The motion, which asks the WVU Board of Governors to amend the search procedures and rescind a motion which stated the interim president would not be a candidate for the permanent post, was endorsed by the 20-person committee.
Board of Governors Chairman and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee James W. Dailey II said in a news release that an emergency BOG meeting will be called early next week. The Higher Education Policy Commission will also call an emergency meeting, he said.
“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,” said Dailey.
“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,” he added.
Dr. Gee first served as president of WVU from 1981-1985. He was hired when he was just 36. He returned in January 2014 for a term to replace the departing Jim Clements.
“He is truly a perfect fit for this institution. His knowledge of and experience in higher education circles is unmatched – as is his national and international reputation,” Dailey said of the decision to introduce and pass the motion to retain Gee.
Gee was not present when the motion was introduced and passed but released a statement following the meeting.
“I am honored, energized and humbled by the Committee’s recommendation today. My return to West Virginia has reminded me of the special spirit of this university and the unique role it plays in this state,” said Gee.
“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.”