Name? E. Gordon Gee
Family Members? I am blessed to have a wonderful daughter who is a physician and who has responsibilities for public health and Medicaid and Medicare in the state of Louisiana. She is also an assistant professor of medicine and public health at the Louisiana State University Medical School.
How does it feel to be back in West Virginia? It feels like I have returned home. This is a very special place and a very special time and a very special opportunity. I am grateful for the warmth with which I have been received upon my return.
Why do you think in 2009, Time Magazine named you one of the top 10 university presidents in the United States? I suspect it is because my mother was editor of Time. Seriously, I was gratified by that recognition but I realize that such things are fleeting. I hope to continue to work at a very high level and bring recognition to the universities that I serve.
In your opinion, what has been your greatest accomplishment? My greatest accomplishment may be that I have survived nearly 35 years as a university president. But, I suspect the most significant achievement has been the opportunity to lead significant public universities through a very tumultuous and changing environment.
What is the biggest issue you face as West Virginia University’s President? I believe the most significant issue facing higher education, and certainly our university, is that of the challenge of increasing quality while moderating and decreasing our costs within universities and colleges.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? The best piece of advice I have ever received, and one that I have learned to give to others and follow, is that one should celebrate one’s successes, but learn from one’s mistakes.
What is the funniest incident you have encountered as West Virginia University’s President? I have had a number of funny things happen to me, but I suspect the most amusing was when a couple of young coeds recognized me, but thought that I was Orville Redenbacher.
If you could sit and talk with anyone in the world, (past, present, or future) who would it be and why? I have had the privilege of talking with remarkable people over many years. Presidents, ambassadors, symphony conductors, great musicians, poets and writers. It has been a privileged life. But the person that I admire the most is Abraham Lincoln and I would be honored to have an opportunity to spend some time talking with him, not about his presidency but, about his leadership style.
If you could give young adults advice, what would it be? Find your passion and follow your dreams. And live up to your expectations and not the hollow expectations of others.