OSU's Gee visits downtown Kent

By Kyle McDonald | staff writer Published:

Ohio State University fanfare took over the plaza at Acorn Alley II in downtown Kent Friday during a visit by the OSU's president, Gordon Gee.

The event was filled with trivia, dance and the Brutus mascot. While the OSU bus tour event was held in the shadow of Kent State University, Flash and Brutus exchanged a few friendly hugs and high fives.

Dozens of people showed up to nab a picture with Gee, who recently announced his retirement.

Gee first served as OSU's president from 1990 to 1998, and returned to the position in 2007 after a two-year term of president of Brown University and six years as chancellor of Vanderbilt University.

"(The bus tour) is something I've done ever since I returned in 2007 and it's a joy," Gee said of the tour, which hit more than a dozen Northeast Ohio stops in two days. "It's a victory lap for me."

Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala gave Gee an official Kent pin, and Popped! owner Gwen Rosenberg dished out free samples of "All-Ohio Coffee Toffee Butter Nut Crunch" gourmet popcorn.

"(Gee) has got a great personality and blends in well with these situations, and that's one of the core things a president of a university ought to be doing," Fiala said on his first impression of the outgoing college president. "I'm glad he stopped in my town, Kent, Ohio."

Gee said he plans to make his exit from presidency a quick one, but also plans to return to The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law to do writing and research.

"I'm just moving from one end of the oval to the other," he said, adding that leaving his position does feel strange. "But saying that, I am very energized by what's going to happen next."

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1127 or kmcdonald@recordpub.com

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