A great day for Gordon Gee to be a mountaineer - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

A great day for Gordon Gee to be a mountaineer

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Former West Virginia University quarterback, the great Pat White, said it best — once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer. We can't help but evoke that same sentiment now that E. Gordon Gee has been named the president of WVU. 

Gee, who served as president in the early 1980s and recently came back on interim basis, is an excellent choice for the permanent position. Our state's flagship university is fortunate to have him back.

Gee, if he were so inclined, could work for any institution of higher learning anywhere in the country. He could spend his golden years writing a book, touring the world or sitting on a beach and reading a novel. Yet, he chose to return to West Virginia. Why? What could bring him back to Morgantown? It's not likely the paycheck. Though he is paid well, it's nothing close to what he was making at Ohio State University or what he could earn as a consultant. We launched him into a career as one of the great leaders in higher education and he may feel that he owes us for believing in him at the start of his career, yet his return is more than nostalgia. Quite simply, Gee loves West Virginia. He loves everything about this state and its people. He sees our potential and he wants to help our young people achieve their dreams. He also knows what WVU means to this state. Growth in and around North Central West Virginia has been amazing. WVU has been an integral part of that dynamic. 

An educated, versatile workforce is going to be a key part of economic success in the 21st century, and WVU is training tomorrow's leaders. Stagnation and lack of innovation are simply no longer an option. Dynamic, creative thinkers — those who know how to develop our natural resources and position us to grow — are the component that will make the machine work. This is why having a capable man or woman sitting in the big office in Stewart Hall is so important. This person's leadership is going to define the university, and, in turn, play a major role in the future of our state. 

While this position will truly be free from political influence, Gee has been around long enough and comes with a pedigree that allows him to operate above the fray and with an eye not on Charleston, but on what is going to push West Virginia forward. Gee's affability and congenial nature conceal a true leader; one who has taken on this challenge for the right reason. To make WVU and West Virginia a better place.