E. Gordon Gee
|E. Gordon Gee|
|14th President of Ohio State University|
October 1, 2007
|Preceded by||Joseph A. Alutto (interim)|
|7th Chancellor of Vanderbilt University|
July 7, 2001 – August 1, 2007
|Preceded by||Joe B. Wyatt|
|Succeeded by||Nicholas S. Zeppos|
|17th President of Brown University|
|Preceded by||Vartan Gregorian|
|Succeeded by||Ruth Simmons|
|11th President of Ohio State University|
September 1, 1990 – January 2, 1998
|Preceded by||Edward H. Jennings|
|Succeeded by||John R. Sisson (interim)|
February 2, 1944 |
Vernal, Utah, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Elizabeth D. Gee (deceased)
Constance Bumgarner (divorced)
|Alma mater||University of Utah (B.A.)
Columbia University Law School (J.D.)
Teachers College, Columbia University (Ed.D)
|Religion||The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
Elwood Gordon Gee (born February 2, 1944) is an American academic and college president. He is in his second term as the president of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio; he was previously president from 1990 to 1998.
Gee has held more university presidencies than any other American. Prior to his resumption of the presidency of Ohio State on October 1, 2007, Gee was chancellor of Vanderbilt University from 2000 to 2007 and president of Brown University from 1998 to 2000, of the University of Colorado from 1985 to 1990, and of West Virginia University from 1981 to 1985.
Gee's base salary is $802,125, with a total compensation package of $1.6 million, making him the highest paid public university president in the United States. In 2009, he donated a $200,531 bonus and $20,053 raise to scholarship funds. The same year Time rated him the best college president in the country.
Early life, education and early career 
Gee was born and grew up in Vernal, Utah, 171 miles (275 km) east of Salt Lake City, the son of an oil company employee and a school teacher. Raised a Mormon, he served a mission in Germany and Italy. Gee is an Eagle Scout and a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. Gee attended the University of Utah and graduated with a B.A. in history in 1968. After earning a J.D. from Columbia University Law School in 1971 and an Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1972, Gee was named a judicial fellow and staff assistant to the Supreme Court for one year.
After clerking for Justice Burger, Gee accepted a position as professor and associate dean at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He became dean and professor at West Virginia University's law school in 1979, and president of the university two years later. As president of a university at age 37, he was one of the youngest chief executives in academia at the time.
After a successful administration at WVU, Gee moved to the University of Colorado in 1985, then to Ohio State University in 1990. At Ohio State, Gee met and married his second wife Constance. He became president of Brown University in 1998.
Brown tenure 
Gee was president of Brown for only two years, and his tenure was mired in controversy. According to The Village Voice and the College Hill Independent, one of the university's campus newspapers, Gee was criticized by students and faculty for treating the school like a Wall Street corporation rather than an Ivy League university.
Critics pointed to his decisions to sign off on an ambitious brain science program without consulting the faculty, to sell $80 million in bonds for the construction of a biomedical sciences building, and to cut the university's extremely popular Charleston String Quartet, which many saw as part of Gee's effort to lead the school away from its close but unprofitable relationship with the arts. Gee and his wife were also blamed for an extravagant renovation of the president's residence, which reportedly cost several million dollars.
Gee left under a storm of criticism in 2000, as members of the Brown community widely accused him of departing the school after an uncommonly short tenure because of Vanderbilt University's offer of a corporate-level salary and a tenured teaching position for his wife. According to a 2003 article by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Gee was the second highest paid university chief executive in the country with a purported total compensation package of more than $1.3 million.
Vanderbilt tenure 
Gee enjoyed a relatively calm tenure at Vanderbilt compared to Brown. He was generally well liked by faculty and students, demonstrated by his high student approval ratings. In 2005, when Gee's approval saw a comparatively sharp drop, it still stood at 88.4%. During his tenure, Vanderbilt saw a dramatic increase in student applications— more than 50% in six years—and a rise in the SAT scores of incoming freshmen. Under his tenure, the university completed a $1.25 billion fundraising campaign two years ahead of schedule.
A September 2006 Wall Street Journal article detailed that some of Gee's problems at Vanderbilt—including his wife's actions (such as smoking marijuana in the chancellor's official residence), criticism of the high cost of renovating his home, and the couple's lavish spending—had come back to haunt him. Additionally, Gee's 2002 announcement that the administration was going to rename "Confederate Memorial Hall" without the word Confederate evoked a series of lawsuits. While Vanderbilt's board expressed some concern about Gee's spending, they also strongly endorsed his successful leadership. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, he received a total compensation of over $1.8 million in 2005/6, the highest of any continuing university president in the United States.
On March 11, 2003, a student satirical publication at Vanderbilt, The Slant, ran a complete mock-up of The Vanderbilt Hustler, entitled The Vanderbilt Huslter, with the headline GEE DEAD. The hoax received some attention from national media, including an appearance on the Drudge Report. Gee's office responded to the hoax by releasing a photo of him holding a copy of the Huslter (with Gee smiling). Despite Gee's good humor about the prank, the ensuing controversy led to the removal of The Slant's sophomore editor-in-chief David Barzelay from his post for inappropriately expropriating the Vanderbilt Hustler's news racks in violation of Vanderbilt Student Communications regulations. Gee discussed the hoax in his 2003 commencement speech.
In September 2003, Gee made national headlines when he eliminated the organized athletic department at Vanderbilt and consolidated its activities under the Division of Student Life, the university's general administrative division for student organizations and activities. Some critics cited this reorganization in the recruiting process to call into question Vanderbilt's commitment to football. However, Gee's action had its supporters, including NCAA President Myles Brand. Furthermore, a stellar spring for Vanderbilt athletic teams and a top-30 finish in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Director's Cup ranking of college athletic programs for the 2003–04 academic year provided some vindication for Vanderbilt and Gee.
Second Ohio State tenure 
On July 11, 2007, Gee announced that he would be returning to Ohio State University as its president, ending his 7-year tenure at Vanderbilt. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, he will receive a base salary of total compensation of over $1 million, the highest of any public university president in the United States, though less than his pay at Vanderbilt.
Recent controversy has arisen over Gee's usage of public money to live an extravagant lifestyle. The Dayton Daily News of Dayton, Ohio, reports that "Ohio State has spent more than $64,000 on bow ties, bow tie cookies and O-H and bow tie pins for Gee and others to distribute."
Personal life 
Gee has been married twice. His first wife was the late Elizabeth D. Gee, with whom he had one daughter, Rebekah Gee. Gee and his daughter were featured on an episode of the NPR radio show This American Life discussing life after the death of Elizabeth. Gee divorced his second wife, the former Constance (Connie) Marie Bumgarner in 2007. Bumgarner was an associate professor of public policy and education at Peabody College, a part of Vanderbilt University.
In 2001, Gee received the Judge Elbert P. Tuttle Distinguished Achievement Award, the highest recognition of achievement in the Pi Kappa Alpha International fraternity.
In 2012, Gee became the first Honorary Esteemed Member of the University of Colorado's Buff Bow Tie Bunch (BBTB).
- "Holbrook seeks top job at university in Florida". The Columbus Dispatch. 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2007-09-23.
- Rosenthal, Eric T. (2007-12-25). "Shape Shifting the Matrix Model: OSU/James Hospital Structure May Emerge Stronger Following Institutional Infighting". Oncology Times 29 (24): 22–26. doi:10.1097/01.COT.0000305574.26166.dd (inactive 2009-09-06). Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- "Gee paid more than public peers", The Lantern. Rick Shanz. January 18, 2010. Accessed January 26, 2010.
- Von Drehle, David (November 11, 2009). "The Big Man on Campus". Time. Retrieved November 18, 2009.
- Gordon Gee (March 28, 2006). Everything I Know about Being a Mormon I Learned from Running Universities, BYU Forum.
- About the President. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- Blake A. Zeff (August 2, 2000). "Premature Evacuation: Why Did Gordon Gee Abandon Brown?". The Village Voice. Retrieved October 29, 2005.
- Julianne Basinger (November 14, 2003). "Closing In on $1-Million". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved August 2, 2005.
- Staff (September 4, 2009). "Brown A-Z 2009-2010". post- Magazine. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
- Ceryanec, Megan (March 23, 2005). "Gee's approval rating near 90 percent". The Vanderbilt Hustler.
- Page B13, Nov.16, 2007
- Berger, Meredith (March 14, 2003). "Slant hoax ends in apologies". The Vanderbilt Hustler. Archived from the original on 2003-12-29. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
- "Barnhart: Best and worst SEC jobs". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 2006-12-13. Archived from the original on 2006-12-15. Retrieved 2006-12-13.
- ^ Strike up the Vandy! by David Vecsey, sportsillustrated.com, September 12, 2003. Retrieved October 29, 2005.
- Loos, Ralph (2007-07-11). "Gee to leave Vanderbilt for Ohio State". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2007-07-11.[dead link]
- Bischoff, Laura (22 September 2012). "OSU president expenses in the millions". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- "401: Parent Trap". This American Life. Chicago Public Radio. February 19, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- "Vanderbilt Chancellor Gee and wife agree on divorce". NashvillePost.com. 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2007-02-28.
- Reimold, Dan. "Student bow tie club pushes for an ‘elevated level of dressing-up on campus’". USA TODAY. Retrieved 4/10/12.
Joseph A. Alutto (interim)
|Ohio State University President
October 1, 2007 – present
Joe B. Wyatt
|Chancellor of Vanderbilt University
July 1, 2000 – August 1, 2007
Nicholas S. Zeppos
|President of Brown University
Edward H. Jennings
|Ohio State University President
September 1, 1990 – January 2, 1998
John R. Sisson (interim)