When E. Gordon Gee returned to OSU for his second term, he said it felt like he was coming home. Indeed, the largest chunk of Gee’s career at the highest echelon of academia has been spent as a Buckeye. He has a combined 15 years so far under his belt in two terms in OSU’s highest office. He’s not our longest-serving president – that record is held by William Oxley Thompson, at 26 years – but like Thompson, he is a beloved figure to many in the OSU community, who would likely want him to stay another century, if possible.
Gee’s first home was actually far from his current one: Born in Vernal, Utah, Gee enrolled at the University of Utah and attended graduate school at Columbia University, where he received a degree in law and a Ph.D. in education. A variety of positions in academia and law followed. He became assistant dean for administration at the University of Utah College of Law in 1973, a judicial fellow and staff assistant to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1974, and associate professor and assistant dean of law at Brigham Young University, later becoming a full professor and associate dean. He later accepted a position as dean of law at West Virginia University, and in 1981, became its president, one of the youngest in the nation. In 1985, he became president of the University of Colorado, before accepting the presidency of Ohio State in 1990.
From 1998 to 2000, Gee served as president of Brown University, and in 2000, he became president of Vanderbilt University, which he served until accepting an offer in 2007 from the OSU Board of Trustees to return to Ohio State.