President Gee, 1990

President Gee, 1990

On September 1, 1990 – E. Gordon Gee’s first day as president of OSU – there was no such thing as a Pelotonia to raise money for the James (the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital) since the hospital was only two months old. Back then, the Stadium had about 15,000 fewer seats (86,000), and the plans to renovate the Thompson Library, then known as the Main Library, were nearly 10 years away from being approved. Meanwhile, High Street on the south side of campus was still just one long row of broken-down bars.

When E. Gordon Gee became president that day, he began what would become his first term, and he accomplished much during those seven years:

·         The University renamed the College of Business after Max M. Fisher, a 1930 alumnus whose generous contribution helped build a new business school.

·         The University’s community development arm, Campus Partners, was founded to help redevelop the University District, particularly south end of campus along High Street.

·         Designed by Philip Johnson, known as the father of modern architecture in the United States, the Science and Engineering Library opened. (It is now known as the 18th Avenue Library.)

·         The University Staff Advisory Council, an advocacy group for OSU staff, was established.

·         Gee appointed a task force to create an advocacy group for women faculty and staff, eventually known as The Women’s Place.

·         The annual State of Ohio Tour – a week-long bus tour in which the OSU President visits various counties to connect the University to past alumni and future Buckeyes where they live – was created.


President Gee, 2007

President Gee, 2007

On October 1, 2007 – ten years after leaving office – Gee started his second term, and there were more milestones:

·         At a cost of about $120 million, a newly renovated Main Library – now known as the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library – re-opened.

·         A new Ohio Union, the campus’ third student union since 1912 and its largest, opened.

·         The OSU Medical Center was renamed the Wexner Medical Center and began a $1 billion expansion project for the James Cancer Hospital and Solve Research Institute. Meanwhile, the Pelotonia, an annual bike ride through which all proceeds go to OSU cancer research, was established.

·         The University opened International Gateway offices in China and Brazil, to better handle the transition of international students from their home countries to the Ohio State campus.

·         A $2.5 billion fund-raising campaign, “But for Ohio State,” began.

·         Campus Partners opened the South Campus Gateway, a $152-million mixed-use project with retail, entertainment, apartments, office space along High Street.

·         The University signed a $483 million parking lease with CampusParc, a private vendor, in order to raise money to fund academic programs, student scholarships and bus service.

Like everyone else on campus, we will miss President Gee. We’re lucky, though, because the presidential papers from his first term are here, and we expect a collection from his second term to arrive sometime in the future. The first-term collection is available to the public, and if you’re interested in seeing any of the materials, please contact us. (

Gee's welcome at Bricker Hall, 1990

Gee’s welcome at Bricker Hall, 1990

Gee's tour of southeast Ohio, 1991

Gee’s tour of southeast Ohio, 1991


Gee participating in a campus cleanup project, 1994

Participating in a campus cleanup project, 1994

President Gee wades in the water during the Wetlands dedication, 1995

Gee wading in the water during the Wetlands dedication, 1995