E. GORDON Gee is now on his way out as president of The Ohio State University. His tenure will end July 1 and Provost Joe Alutto has been named interim president.
The colorful 69-year-old says his decision to retire has little to do with the firestorm ignited by his remarks about Catholics and the Southeastern Conference. We doubt that, but regardless, his departure will help the university move past the controversy.
While Gee's inflammatory comments were obviously said in jest, they are ones that are not palatable in these days of "political correctness." They also place a black cloud over Gee's two tenures as the Buckeyes' president, years that were marked by tremendous advancement at Ohio State.
Gee's one shortcoming as an institutional leader appears to be his undisciplined mouth. His latest remarks aren't the first time he has talked himself into hot water. Many years ago he called Ohio Gov. George Voinovich a "dummy."
But with that said, Gee has done much good at The Ohio State University, as well as the other universities he has led, including Vanderbilt, WVU, Colorado and Brown.
In Columbus, Gee's fingerprints are all over academic and financial advancements Ohio State has realized. He has been credited with elevating the school into a highly regarded public research institution, while at the same time serving as the driving force in raising $1.6 billion in private support.
Gee's accomplishments have not gone unnoticed by the Ohio State powers to be.
"By any measure, Gordon has been a transformational leader for Ohio State. His service to Ohio State has been superb. This man has been an inspiration to many people, including me, and we all are forever grateful for his friendship," said Trustees Chairman Bob Schottenstein.
While Gee's exodus from Ohio State came quicker than expected and not under ideal circumstances, his two tenures in Buckeyeland should be remembered as positive times for the growth and development of The Ohio State University.