When West Virginia University President Jim Clements announced he was leaving to become president of Clemson University, WVU’s Board of Governors faced a dilemma. The search for a permanent successor is expected to take until next fall. In the interim, progress made at WVU cannot be allowed to stall.
Last Friday, it was revealed the Board of Governors, with approval of the state Higher Education Policy Commission, has made a good choice for an interim president of WVU.
E. Gordon Gee will lead WVU until a permanent president can be named. He will not be a candidate for that position.
Gee and West Virginians know one another well. He was WVU’s president from 1981-85, after a stint as dean of the Law School.
Most recently, Gee was president of Ohio State University, before retiring in the wake of controversial comments he made. There is every reason to believe he learned such talk, even in jest, is not a good idea in the future.
Gee’s experience – he also was president of the University of Colorado and Brown University, as well as chancellor at Vanderbilt University – is just what WVU needs. In 2010, Time magazine rated him one of the country’s top 10 higher education presidents.
Gee’s fondness for our state has been made clear many times. West Virginians can have confidence Gee will be a good steward of one of our most cherished institutions, WVU. The Board of Governors made a great catch, and we join other Mountaineers in welcoming Gee back.