This audio is auto-generated. Please let us know if you have feedback.

Dive Brief:

  • E. Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University, said Monday he plans to leave his position once his contract expires in June 2025 and teach at the public flagship institution’s College of Law.
  • Gee, one of the country’s most decorated higher education administrators, shared his next steps during a meeting of the WVU faculty senate. WVU’s board recently extended Gee’s contract by an extra year, beyond the original expiration of June 2024.
  • His announcement comes as Gee’s administration pursues aggressive academic program and faculty cuts, which university officials intend to disclose to rank-and-file staff this week.

Dive Insight:

Gee is one of the most prominent college presidents of his generation. He’s led several different institutions, including Vanderbilt and Brown universities, as well as Ohio State University — twice.

Some of his presidential tenures have been rocky, though.

In 2013, he left Ohio State for the second time after making disparaging comments about the University of Notre Dame and Roman Catholics. He jokingly said Notre Dame wasn’t invited to join the Big Ten athletic conference because priests are not good partners, referencing how “those damn Catholics” can’t be trusted.

Gee also departed early from Brown in 2000 after about only two years on the job. He reportedly had not meshed well with the campus culture and was accused of disregarding faculty feedback.

He took up the WVU presidency in 2014, his second stint at the public institution after serving as president for four years, between 1981 and 1985.

Gee hasn’t always been popular at WVU. Its chapter of the American Association of University Professors supported a faculty senate no-confidence resolution against him and the college’s provost in 2021 for failing to follow shared governance principles. The move ultimately failed in a 20-103 vote.

More recently, he has been spearheading academic consolidations in the face of a roughly $45 million budget deficit. 

In June, the university announced it will merge its College of Creative Arts and Reed College of Media. The move came roughly two years after it started combining two of its other colleges to form a College of Applied Human Sciences.

WVU is currently reviewing about half of its academic programs amid the budget crunch, with the goal of phasing out or reducing some of the university’s offerings. Some faculty would also be cut.