As a Buckeye undergrad, I am no stranger to Dr. Gee and his adorable bowtie. He was President of Ohio State for my entire undergraduate career and the first year of my MBA program. On November 18, some Fisher students has the pleasure of having lunch with Dr. Gee and learning more about his background, views on OSU and how to keep energy and passion in your life.
Dr. E. Gordon Gee has been president of West Virginia University, Vanderbilt, Brown and Ohio State (twice – because we are that awesome). In 2010, Time Magazine rated Gee one of the top 10 college presidents in the United States.
During the lunch, Dr. Gee talked about his love for Ohio State. He explained that it was a challenge, and opportunity, to pull together all the departments at OSU. The diversity allowed for connections to be made by the OSU Medical Center, the College of Law, the College of Engineering and the Business School. He outlined his view of Fisher being tied to the integrity of the University and that it is essential for the university as a whole to constantly reinvent itself.
I thought it was refreshing to hear a leader talk openly about making mistakes – but also about learning from the past and moving forward. Dr. Gee emphasized the need to stay true to yourself, “Even if I failed, I made sure I was going to do it having fun and with personality.” Students asked about dealing with criticism – and in typical Gee fashion – the man just laughed. He said that he has received enough criticism till fill hundreds of books and that it typically isn’t about you as a person, but your actions.
Gee’s 5 keys too success:
- Have self-confidence
- Play to your own strengths
- Have thick skin
- Have a sense of humor
- Have nerves like sewer pipes
- Keep your passion – “If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, you want last very long”
My favorite takeaway from the entire lunch was Dr. Gee’s take on family and balance. He told how he is a workaholic, but looking back, regrets missing some important family moments. As he said, there is no substitute for a loving family, a good home and caring friends.