OSU President Retiring in Wake of Comments

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — E. Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University, plans to retire from the presidency, effective July 1.

Gee served as the school’s president for two terms, from 1990 to 1997 and from 2007 to the present. The release said Gee was instrumental in helping to raise more than $1.6 billion in private support for the school and spearheaded two commissions that developed new models for funding public higher education.

Gee gave the following statement Tuesday:

“I recently returned from a vacation with my family, during which time I had a chance to consider the university’s phenomenal achievements and the road that lies ahead for it. Ohio State now has a richness of new opportunities that would be the envy of most universities. During my days away, I also spent some time in self-reflection. And after much deliberation, I have decided it is now time for me to turn over the reins of leadership to allow the seeds that we have planted to grow.  It is also time for me to reenergize and refocus myself,” said President Gee. 

 “I began my career at Ohio State in 1990, and I was honored to return as its leader six years ago. I am proud to have played a critical role in the university’s transformation from excellence to eminence. I plan to work closely with the Trustees and Dr. Alutto to ensure the smoothest transition possible. I cannot express enough my deep appreciation to the people of Ohio for the opportunity they have given me to lead this great university. I love this university, and although I might be retiring from the presidency, my work with Ohio State will continue. No matter what the future may hold for me, Ohio is my home,” concluded President Gee.

According to the Columbus Dispatch newspaper, Gee apologized last week to top officials at schools in the Big Ten Conference and others. Gee reportedly made insensitive remarks during a December meeting with the Ohio State Athletics Council.

Gee referred to “those damn Catholics” at Notre Dame and joked that Louisville didn’t have the academic integrity to join the Big Ten.

He also cast aspersions on some schools in the Southeastern Conference, the paper reported.

The chairman of the school’s board of trustees said Gee has transformed the school.

“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. His thoughtful and unique leadership style has taken the University to new levels,” said Robert H. Schottenstein.

According to a release from OSU, Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph A. Alutto will be named interim president. He also served as interim president in 2007.

Alutto has been responsible for the administration, coordination and development of all academic functions of the university, according to the release. He served as dean at the Fisher College of Business for 16 years prior to his appointment as executive vice president and provost.

(CNN contributed to this report)

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