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President Gee's State Tour

September 03, 2012

Each summer, President E. Gordon Gee travels Ohio, meeting everyone from future Buckeyes to alumni who are making the state a better place.

It took only six days to reach 39 counties and rack up a hefty 1,722 miles on the odometer.

Such is the brisk pace of life on the road with President Gee.

Each year, energized by the mutual love affair between Ohioans and their land-grant university, President Gee spreads some Buckeye spirit throughout Ohio as part of his annual summer tour project.

"It’s a way to show the people of Ohio that we love them," Gee says. "It's a way to meet faculty, staff, and students from our various campuses, and people who are impacted every day by the institution."

The 41 stops on this year's tour had three common threads: economic development, agriculture and food safety, and health and wellness. The topics are near the president's heart. Food security and health and wellness are each the subject of major multi-disciplinary research efforts at Ohio State--knowledge that, in turn, is used to give Ohio businesses an edge, helping them succeed and create jobs and opportunities in the state.

"It's a wonderful circle," Gee says. "It's a circle of life."

The home-grown Ohio businesses Gee visits have a major economic impact. Says Gee: "We go and see things that are real products of Ohio, and real ways for us to fly our flag internationally."

Take Woeber's Mustard, one of the world's largest producers of mustard and horseradish, or the Bucyrus D. Picking & Co., which specializes in hand-crafted copper kettles that are shipped all over the globe.

The tour also stopped at American Mug & Stein Co., a small-town company that recently began selling ceramic mugs to Starbucks--a success story featured in the New York Times.

To highlight Ohio State's commitment to health and wellness, Gee spent time learning about initiatives and community partnerships that are exploring all sides of the issue, from preventing drug abuse to fighting childhood obesity.

The many ways in which Ohio State connects with the people of Ohio is the embodiment of a 21st century public land-grant university, Gee says.

"It is a way for us to make certain that we celebrate our roots and challenge the future at the same time."

Read more of President Gee's thoughts about the trip on his blog, "From Where I Stand."