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New Gee deal saves OSU $4.1 million

Ohio State University will be on the hook for $1.7 million of the $5.8 million golden parachute that it promised E. Gordon Gee in July when he abruptly retired as OSU president after nearly seven years as leader of the university.

Gee took over as interim president of West Virginia University in January and he’ll assume the permanent post July 1.

His new job triggered a renegotiation of the $5.8 million retirement package that Gee and OSU settled on last July. Details of the revised agreement were reached March 26 but released Friday by OSU.

Gee will retain the honorific title of president emeritus, be provided executive health care insurance for life as long as he’s not covered by another job and keep the $800,000 OSU already contributed to his retirement plan as well as salary, grant money and moving expenses paid out last year.

Ohio State spokesman Gary Lewis said overall, OSU will save $4.1 million.

Gee’s employment at Ohio State ends July 1 when he becomes WVU president. He has been on unpaid leave from OSU since January when he took the interim post.

The new deal, spelled out in two-page letter by OSU General Counsel Christopher Culley, said Gee promised to fulfill a pledge to donate $1 million to an OSU scholarship fund, some of which may be earmarked for the Center for Higher Education Enterprise, which Gee founded. Gee will carry the designation “senior fellow” at the center.

Gee served as OSU president 1990 to 1997 and October 2007 to June 2013. He decided to retire after being rebuked by the Ohio State board of trustees for his string of verbal blunders that embarrassed the university.

The president of Ohio State oversees a complex institution with a $5 billion operating budget, 65,000 students, 35,000 employees, 500,000 alumni, a major medical center and a high-profile sports program. Dr. Michael Drake, who is currently chancellor of the University of California Irvine, will take over as OSU’s 15th president on June 30.

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