Gee Will Remain Involved at Ohio State

By Kyle Rowland on June 5, 2013 at 9:38a
Gordon Gee, Robert Schottenstein and Joe Alutto

Gordon Gee will step down as Ohio State’s president on July 1, but he won’t be leaving the university. At a press conference today, Gee, board chairman Robert Schottenstein and soon-to-be interim president Joe Alutto spoke about the impact Gee has had on Ohio State and what the future holds.

Gee indicated that he will continue to fundraise for Ohio State and further the university’s agenda. Schottenstein noted that Gee, who holds a law degree from Columbia, might teach at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law.

All three men commented on the positive trajectory the university is on and their belief that it will continue to excel under the next president. Schottenstein and Alutto both praised Gee for his many accomplishments at Ohio State, which includes two stints as president, from 1990-97 and again from 2007-2013.

“He leaves a rich, lasting and enduring legacy,” Schottenstein said. “Gordon, my friend, you will be missed.”

Since news of Gee’s retirement broke Tuesday afternoon, the Ohio State community has taken on a somber mood. But Gee told Buckeye Nation to end the sadness because “this is not a funeral, this is a new phase.”

Gee said his resignation had nothing to do with the verbal gaffes from a December athletics council meeting that became public last week. Instead, he focused on his grandchildren, a significant other living in California and his health.

“I run the university as if I were 36 years old, but I am 69. I am a little slower,” Gee said. 

True to form, Gee made a couple self-deprecating jokes, saying, “I just can’t leave quietly, can I?” When his voice cracked and a raspiness crept in he smiled and told the assembled media, “My voice is a little rough today after yelling at myself.”

Gee said the swift timing was because of his lack of wanting a “victory parade.” It’s rare for university presidents to abruptly retire because of the time needed for a smooth transition.

Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman announced her retirement, effective July 2014, in April of this year, 15 month before she will leave the university.

Gene Smith, Urban Meyer and Thad Matta each issued statements thanking Gee for his service and commitment to the Buckeyes.

“I want to thank Gordon for what he has done for me as a person and for his contributions to higher education and in particular to The Ohio State University,” Smith said. “I am appreciative for all his contributions as a president to intercollegiate athletics on a national level. I wish he and his family all the best.”

“It is hard to put into words the respect and love I have for President Gee,” Meyer said. “His leadership brought me home to this great university and to this great state of Ohio. I will always be thankful and grateful to him for that. He has been a wonderful advocate for collegiate athletics and for The Ohio State University. It has been an honor to work for him. I wish him the best as he moves into retirement.”

“Dr. Gee has done so much for me personally and as a coach,” Matta said. “He has always gone above and beyond the call of duty to help build our program. I have never met a person who loves this university more than Dr. Gee.”


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Hovenaut's picture

Forgoing a gif, my enthusiastic applause at the news E. Gordon Gee will remain involved, engaged with the Ohio State community - on and off campus.

Hope the pundits find that acceptable (total sarcastic font).

Poison nuts's picture

Well, in this case, sounds like they want to take him out of the public eye, but keep him around for all the benefits he possesses. Also, to make the transition easier. It's a compromise of sorts, but certainly not the worst way to go about it...I'm sure students would be happy he's still there.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

brandonbauer87's picture

Perfect solution. I had been hoping to hear something like this since the news broke. He can stay involved in the university which is good for the university. He can also speak more freely, which is good for everyone. 

OSUs12-OH's picture

Good to see that OSU won't get flamed and blamed for all this.  It's not like they wanted to get rid of him.  It's just time for him to step down from being President.  One thing that will rest assured, if he would have thought before speaking, then he'd still be OSU's President.  Good to see OSU isn't breaking all ties with the bow tie.  Good on their part and now all the mudslinging towards OSU's top officials should simmer down a bit...I hope.  

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

acBuckeye's picture

Good to see that OSU won't get flamed and blamed for all this.

I guess you haven't read the Matt Hayes article linked in DJ's piece yet then. I wouldn't be surprised if Dohrmann, Dodd and Doyel soon pen similar articles. Remember, OSU gets blamed for EVERYTHING bad that happens in this world!

AndyVance's picture

It's a well known fact that Ohio State in general, and Ohio State athletics in specific, is responsible for the following atrocities, in no particular order:

  • global warming,
  • world hunger,
  • athlete's foot,
  • high taxes,
  • neglected puppies,
  • grumpy cats,
  • the obesity epidemic,
  • Justin Beiber,
  • the Lillehammer Winter Olympics,
  • Detroit,
  • the drought of 2012,
  • genetically-engineer salmon,
  • Rutgers' ongoing PR nightmare,
  • Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno,
  • chewing gum losing its flavor, and,
  • Mike Bianchi's ongoing case of hemorrhoids (often known as "butthurt").
Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Ohio State is responsible for the existence of Detroit? I knew Ohio State was evil, but this is low. 

chewing gum losing its flavor, and, 

I stand corrected. This is worse than Detroit...

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Poison nuts's picture

I'm sorry to argue Andy, but you are totally off base on this. Grumpy cats were caused by Ohio University, not OSU. Otherwise, everything else looks to be in order...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

Although it's not a win, better to keep a Tie than suffer a loss.


Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

tdible2132's picture

Finally, some good news on the Gee front. OSU is much better off with him involved in the university.

AndyVance's picture

The Board of Trustees has successfully mastered the age-old Jedi tactic of having one's cake and eating it too... Either that or they just figured out how to solve the Kobayashi Maru without cheating...

Bucksfan's picture

So much nerd in so few lines!

Earle's picture

I'm not sure what competitive eating has to do with it, but I'm pretty sure Kobayashi could eat a lot of cake.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

Poison nuts's picture

Well done Andy.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Cake you say?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

RedStorm45's picture

So, I had a '90s cassette tape of TBDBITL, or maybe it was a CD by then I don't know.  Anyway, this was right around the time Gee left the first time, and they made a song like "Gordon Gee, you're our man."  I forget the exact title.  But it was hilarious.  "Gordon Gee, with that awesome bow-tie.  Ohio needs you badly you're a special Buckeye."  Does anyone have a link?? Someone had to put that on YouTube, right?  I'll do my best to find it.  I feel it must be shared with the 11W community.

smith5568's picture

Maybe I spoke too soon in claiming the board was misguided. As much as I hate doing it, appealing to public perception is important and this accomplished that while keeping Gee involved in University affairs. 

acBuckeye's picture

I'm glad to hear this. Keep Gee around in order to keep raising money and interacting with the faculty/students, but keeping him out of the limelight at the same time. A perfect "EFF YOU" to all the haterz.
The only way to make me happier would be to hire Jim Tressel as the new president.

buckskin's picture

Great move.  Great to see the Board honoring and recognizing the rest of his body of work, not just the recent gaffes.

BME_Buckeye's picture

If he does teach, whoever gets this guy will be in for a comedy hour! 

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


BED's picture

I can confirm Gee has had an office in the Law School since he started as President.  It is unoccupied, but there is a sign on the door which says "E. Gordon Gee."

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

Denny's picture

"I ain't passed the bar but I know a little bit" - Jay Gee


buckeyenut10's picture

This is wonderful news for both students (it really was a blessing to feel like you could talk to someone so powerful and influential as your University President) and the University (I'm not even going to begin to list the things he's done for this University).

Bucks's picture

Watched the exchange this morning. While most people are already confident Gee didn't retire so much as he was told he was 'retiring' all I needed was the reaction from Schottenstein to that direct question to Gee. Consisted of - "Let me jump in here," Gee great man (insert Vest Senator here), we are in a better place now (rinse and repeat and by all means, avoid answering that question). I truly wish that reporter had followed up with "I understand that you are appreciative of what he has done for this school but the question was if any BOT member had asked for his resignation. Yes or No?" Understand not burning bridges though. It isn't always easy for a reporter.
I am extremely happy Dr. Gee will remain a force within tOSU. I am still disgusted by these series of events & this man should have been able to finish on his own terms as the Orville-In-Charge.

sharks's picture

I see LSAT registrations going through the roof in the great state of Ohio - that'd probably be a raucous class, whatever it is (provided it isn't first year).

A man got to have a code...

Maestro's picture

Good, and let's get Tress back in a few years and have Tress actually fire Gee in about 10 years.

vacuuming sucks

southbymidwest's picture

I can see Gee coming back from his wonderful vacation with his family, significant other, and the grandkids (stern fathers have been known to become the biggest and most patient marshmallows in the world with their grandkids), thinking that maybe he was missing something special, and it might be time to think about transitioning into his third stage. He might have broached the topic to the BoT/Schottenstein, who said, "Capital idea E. Gordon! Here's your hat, what's your hurry? Is July 1 good for you to clean out your office?" 
I don't care what the BoT is claiming, I still think they gave Gee's tentative step toward retirement musing a big push. Voluntarily retiring college presidents don't give 3 weeks notice. 
I do hope, however, that Gee will have a capacity at OSU for as long as he wants, but I truly wonder how long that will last-the next president will have to be a truly confident individual to not be bothered by having the previous extremely competent and very popular president on campus.

OSUinFl's picture

He a great fundraiser .

741's picture

Not to be cynical, but I am pretty sure this is 90% about Dr. Gee keeping his multi million dollar deferred compensation package intact, and 10% about his love for OSU and desire to stay engaged. Unless he and the BOT agree to rewrite his existing contract, or make some sort of special dispensation, I believe he must remain employed until September 30, 2017 to be eligible to keep what's in his deferred compensation plan.
That said, I am a fan of Gordon Gee and think he deserves every penny he earned. GO BUCKS!