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Sources say Gordon Gee is WVU pick for interim president

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- E. Gordon Gee, former president at West Virginia University and more recently Ohio State University, will serve as the interim president at WVU starting in January, sources confirmed Thursday.

The WVU Board of Governors unanimously approved an interim president for the school in an emergency meeting on Thursday, but delayed a public announcement for a Higher Education Policy Commission meeting scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m.

However, sources close to the selection process told the Gazette that Gee -- who was WVU's president from 1981 to 1985 -- will be the one to replace Jim Clements temporarily while the board conducts a nationwide search for a more permanent president.

Gee retired from OSU in June shortly after it was leaked that he denounced a number of universities during an OSU athletic council meeting -- including offensive comments about Catholics and the University of Notre Dame.

He was the highest-paid college president in the country in 2012, making nearly $2 million at OSU, according to a report by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Gee has also served as the dean of the WVU College of Law, and also has headed Brown and Vanderbilt universities.

Time Magazine named Gee among the top 10 best college presidents in 2009.

WVU Board Chairman James Dailey said in a statement on Thursday that he was "absolutely thrilled" with the temporary selection, and that the person is "uniquely qualified to move WVU forward and continue the momentum we are enjoying." He did not name that selection.

The board has said that the interim president will not qualify for the permanent presidency, and that WVU's next official president will be named by fall 2014.

Clements announced his resignation in November, and will officially become the president of Clemson University in South Carolina on Jan. 1.

During Thursday's emergency meeting, the WVU Board of Governors also adopted a set of proposed procedures and guidelines for its nationwide presidential selection process.

The HEPC must approve the recommendations at Friday's meeting in order for the board to move forward.

The board's proposed timeline for the presidential search includes on-campus interviews with candidates scheduled for April, with constituency groups submitting questions for candidates.

By January, the BOG plans to appoint a presidential search committee made up of BOG members, WVU staff, students, alumni and others.

The deadline for presidential nominations and applications is Feb. 21, and the board hopes to submit its choice for president to the HEPC by June 5.

Thursday's emergency meeting was the fourth closed-door BOG meeting held concerning the future leader of the university since Clements resigned.

 The HEPC meeting will be held at the West Virginia Regional Tech Park in South Charleston and is open to the public. Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.mays@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.


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