BUCKHANNON — Buckhannon-Upshur High School welcomed West Virginia University (WVU) President Dr. E. Gordon Gee Monday morning, as he gave juniors and seniors an inspirational speech about continuing their education.
“It’s been an honor to serve the school and a gift being in this state. I have two rules. One, that I want every one of you to stay in West Virginia. I want you to get your education here. I want you to stay here, make it better and improve the quality of the state. The second thing is, I don’t so much care where you go to school. Obviously, I want all of you to come live with me at WVU, but I want you to continue your education and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to a university or college, it means that you want to continue your education,” Gee stated.
Gee mentioned approximately 33,000 students make up WVU and the school has programs in every study, including teaching, engineering, medicine and art. “I tell everyone we’re the ‘Goldilocks’ university – we’re just the right size,” Gee said. “One of the things I do that is important for any institution, is for you to be able to meet people who are different from you. We have students from 55 counties in this state, from 50 states in the country and 118 countries in the world, and we speak a hundred different languages,” Gee explained.
President Gee has lived a prestigious life through the feats of his successes. Gee graduated from the University of Utah with an honors degree in History and earned his J.D. and Ed.D. degrees from Columbia University. His career as WVU’s President began in 2014 when he returned to West Virginia. He has led a remarkable career, providing his leadership for over 40 years, not only as president of WVU, but an admirable leader of other universities, including the University of Colorado, Brown University and Vanderbilt University. Time Magazine even named Gee one of the Top 10 University Presidents in the United States in 2009.
Gee’s earnest heart and encouraging presence resonates with the people he encounters and leaves a lasting impression. He is heavily devoted to the well-being of students and could not stress enough about the advocacy of WVU campus safety.
Gee’s influential encouragement is contagious to those around him through his words of comfort and reassurance. B-UHS Principal Eddie Vincent stated, “We had set this up last year for Dr. Gee to come and visit but had to cancel it because of the teacher walk-out. We didn’t know if we’d get another chance, but about a month ago, they offered to come back. We certainly loved having him. He met one of our students, Caitlyn Wendling, at a leadership conference, spoke and had wanted him to come back.”
Wendling shared her experience so far with President Gee. “I know a lot of kids have expressed interest in attending the university. Dr. Gee is WVU. He makes it feel like it could be their school and their home. He’s very personable for someone with such high prestige. That was something that made going to WVU a more viable option for me. I hope it has just of great effect on kids as it did me, who are planning their next steps after high school,” Wendling stated.
Caitlyn Wendling is planning to major in neuroscience and will be meeting and having a personal tour with Gee at the university.