Retiring Ohio State President Gordon Gee: I'll get out of the way

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Retiring Ohio State University President Gordon Gee, a veteran administrator who casts a large shadow in higher education realms, vowed Friday not to linger and inhibit his successor's work.

"I think that one of the best contributions I can make is to get out of the way," Gee said after meeting with trustees, who lavishly praised his leadership and made no mention of his latest verbal gaffe, made public days before he announced his July 1 retirement.

Gee will likely raise funds for the university and possibly teach but said he is saving some sabbatical time to use when his permanent replacement arrives. The board on Friday approved Provost Joseph Alutto as interim president.

More than a dozen trustees broke from the scheduled agenda Friday to address Gee during his final board meeting as president, leading him to joke that it sounded more like a funeral. They called him a peerless figure in higher education and lauded his passion, accessibility and engagement of everyone in the campus community. Several trustees said they loved him.

"For almost everybody, Ohio State's overwhelming," Trustee Ronald Ratner told Gee. "For you, that scale -- the very fact of what makes this university -- is not something that overwhelms you. It's something that both nourishes you and that you nourish."

Gee told the board transitioning is tough.

"It's not easy to do what I'm doing," he said. "It's not easy to do what you're doing."

Gee announced his retirement this week, days after The Associated Press first reported remarks he made in jest  in December jabbing Roman Catholics, the University of Notre Dame and the academic integrity of Southeastern Conference schools. Gee apologized, calling the comments "a poor attempt at humor and entirely inappropriate."

He said the attention surrounding the remarks was a small part of his retirement decision. Gee, 69, also cited his age, family and other reasons for stepping down.

The board's chairman, Robert Schottenstein, said that the board will negotiate Gee's departure package in the next few weeks and that he anticipates quick agreement.

"This resignation by him has been a very emotional time, and there just hasn't been time to address it yet," he said.

Schottenstein has said Gee was not forced out.
   ------
Follow Kantele Franko on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/kantele10 .

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

Related Stories

Marshall Marshall's return lifts Buckeyes by Hoosiers 42-27

Jalin Marshall was the problem last week and the solution on Saturday for No. 7 Ohio State.

OSU ranked No. 6 in latest college football rankings OSU ranked No. 6 in latest college football rankings

The latest college football playoff rankings were released Tuesday night and once again the Buckeyes have moved up.

Barrett, No. 8 Ohio State outlast Minnesota 31-24 Barrett, No. 8 Ohio State outlast Minnesota 31-24

J.T. Barrett broke three of Braxton Miller's records, the latest breakthrough for this remarkable replacement. Ohio State's pursuit of a place in the College Football Playoff stayed steady with a tough win on the road.

Thompson, No. 20 Buckeyes roll over Lowell, 92-55 Thompson, No. 20 Buckeyes roll over Lowell, 92-55
Sam Thompson scored 14 points and No. 20 Ohio State's newcomers had a big game in leading the Buckeyes to a 92-55 victory against overmatched UMass-Lowell on Friday night.
 
University of Minnesota uses Twitter to get fans to clear snow from stadium for Ohio State game University of Minnesota uses Twitter to get fans to clear snow from stadium for Ohio State game

University of Minnesota uses Twitter to get fans to clear snow from stadium for Ohio State game.

Ohio State with big win 49-37 over Michigan State Ohio State with big win 49-37 over Michigan State

J.T. Barrett threw for three touchdowns and ran for two in a sensational performance, and No. 13 Ohio State scored almost at will against Michigan State's vaunted defense, beating the seventh-ranked Spartans 49-37 on Saturday night.

VIDEO: Ohio State - Michigan State trailer VIDEO: Ohio State - Michigan State trailer

Ohio State has released a trailer in anticipation of Saturday’s matchup against Michigan State.

No. 13 Ohio St rolls in 55-14 win over Illinois No. 13 Ohio St rolls in 55-14 win over Illinois

Curtis Samuel ran for two touchdowns and J.T. Barrett hit Devin Smith on two scoring passes -- all in the first half -- and No. 13 Ohio State beat Illinois 55-14 on Saturday night, extending the Buckeyes' Big Ten win streak to a record-tying 20.

Illini Illini's O'Toole leads 1 upset, hopes for a 2nd
Until a couple of weeks ago, even hardcore Illinois fans probably thought Reilly O'Toole was the proprietor of a new Irish pub near campus.
 
Tommy Bowden says Condoleezza Rice not qualified for playoff panel Tommy Bowden says Condoleezza Rice not qualified for playoff panel

Tommy Bowden would vote Condoleezza Rice into political office.