The Ohio State University’s rehired president Gordon Gee officially took over Monday, telling well-wishers who greeted him with a surprise celebration that it was the first day of his dream of returning to the university.
“I wanted to come to a place that I love, and a place that has loved me,” Gee said, choking back emotion.
The former Vanderbilt University chancellor arrived at his office to applause from a crowd that included cheerleaders and mascot Brutus Buckeye, as well as faculty members wearing T-shirts saying on the front, “Welcome Home, President Gee, to OH-IO!” On the back was what looked like a team schedule, but instead listed Gee’s “home” and “away” years.
He previously led Ohio State from 1990 to 1997. In July, the university’s trustees announced that Gee had agreed to leave the top post at Vanderbilt University to replace Karen Holbrook, who had stepped down after five years as Ohio State president.
Though Monday marked the official start of his new era at Ohio State, Gee has been on campus for weeks. Students have had to get used to their hands-on president turning up next to them at campus events including football games and at least one party.
“I showed up and someone said, ‘Oh, no!’ They were doing something they probably shouldn’t have been doing, and all of a sudden they started talking about physics and music,” he said. “It was great fun.”
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