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Gordon Gee is one of the most recognizable leaders in higher education, known for his energetic personal style, his quirky sense of humor, his advocacy of public education, and his fund-raising prowess.
This fall, he'll bring all of those traits to The Ohio State University.
On Thursday, trustees hired Gee as the university's 14th president. Gee said he looks forward to being "part of the most exciting academic environment in higher education."
"This is Ohio State's time," Gee said. "This is the university of the American dream."
Gee's hire marked something unprecedented: the return of a beloved president. He led Ohio State from 1990 to 1997. Since then, the university has become more competitive, thanks in part to the selective admissions process Gee started.
"My heart told me what to do and that's what I did," he said, explaining why he decided to come back to Ohio State. "This was a pure and simple spiritual decision for me, and it was the right decision."
"Gordon Gee reflected the Buckeye spirit, that sense of pride recognized by more than 400,000 alumni across the world," said trustee Alex Schumate.
Gee and Ohio State both have changed since his departure a decade ago, he and trustees agreed.
"This is not Back to the Future," Gee said.