Gordon Gee, the embattled Ohio State University president who has come under fire for his anti-Catholic jokes and mockery of SEC academics, said on Tuesday he plans to retire on July 1 after “much deliberation” while he was on vacation.
“I have decided it is now time for me to turn over the reigns of leadership to allow the seeds that we have planted to grow,” Gee said in a news release. “It is also time for me to reenergize and refocus myself.”
According to the Columbus-Dispatch, Gee will make a more formal announcement later in an email to students, faculty and staff.
This is Gee’s second stint as Ohio State’s president, and his tenure has been marred by his verbal gaffes.
The Associated Press obtained a recording last week in which Gee mocked Notre Dame and the school’s fathers at a meeting last December with Ohio State faculty, administrators, and students. He said the “damn Catholics” at Notre Dame could not be trusted and the school’s fathers were only “holy on Sunday” and “holy hell” the rest of the week.
He mocked the SEC’s academics, saying SEC students did not know how to read or write. He apologized to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive before issuing a more formal apology after his comments came to light and he was put on a “remediation” path by the school’s trustees, who felt he had embarrassed the school.
“Without question, the university has achieved remarkable success, and it has been my honor and calling to lead it,” Gee’s email will say, according to the Dispatch. “Ohio State is well-positioned for the future. I love this university, and my relationship with it will continue.”
Gee, who reportedly makes $2.1 million, is the third highest-paid university president, according to the Chronicle on Higher Education.
As the Dispatch notes, Gee understood the trouble he was in after his remarks. On Monday, Gee announced that he would be “backing out of giving Saturday’s commencement speech at St. Francis DeSales, a Catholic high school.”