Gee doesn't have much time. The board has goals of naming a more-permanent president to replace Jim Clements, who announced in November that he was leaving to become president of Clemson University, as soon as this summer.
But Gee says he has goals for the next six months, which include fundraising for WVU's biggest capital campaign to date, providing a well-rounded, affordable education for students and building relationships across the state, aiming to turn the university "from an ivory tower to a helping hand."
"If you had a long agenda, you'd get nothing done," he said. "These are challenging times in West Virginia, as they are nationally. What we're trying to do as an institution is to develop our relationship with the state to make sure we're in all 55 counties, that we're making a difference. We are not West Virginia University in Morgantown -- we're West Virginia University. So our work needs to be very focused, in terms of carrying out our responsibilities in the state."
Gee has had help with the transition. He and Clements exchange text messages "almost everyday."
"I tell him how to run Clemson and he tells me how to run WVU, so we're doing fine," Gee joked. "I think the presidents of WVU . . . , all of us, have this kind of intrinsic tie to the place. We all continue to communicate and, between all of us, there's certainly enough of us to make a case for the university.
"West Virginians just have a spirit about them that you can't find many places."
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.