Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee faced banks of TV cameras on Wednesday morning in the Ohio Union on campus to explain his abrupt retirement in the wake of embarrassing comments he made about Catholics, the University of Notre Dame and others.
Gee said the decision was made after taking a Disney cruise with family, including his identical twin 7-month-old granddaughters.
OSU Board of Trustees President Robert Schottenstein said Gee was not pressured to step down. He acknowledged that Gee has made mistakes but said on balance that Gee deserves high praise as an extraordinary university president.
Gee said he is not leaving Ohio State. He plans to remain on the faculty and take an active role in the $2.5 billion fundraising campaign and other projects.
Gee, who is 69, said his health is fine but that he has been slowing down and is no longer able to run the university like a much younger man. He also noted that he has a “significant other” in California.
OSU Provost Joseph Alutto will serve as interim president, a role he played in 2007 before Gee returned for a second stint as president. Schottenstein said details will be ironed out at the Board of Trustees meeting this week about finding a permanent replacement for Gee.