Gee to step down as Vanderbilt chancellor

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Gordon Gee will leave after seven years as Vanderbilt University’s chancellor to return to The Ohio State University as president, a position he held from 1990 to 1997. His resignation is effective Aug. 1.

“This was by far the most difficult professional decision that I have ever made,” said Gee in an e-mail message to the Vanderbilt community. “I want you to know that I am not leaving Vanderbilt. Rather, I am following my heart and returning to a place that I consider my home. My decision is that simple and that complex. Over the past several weeks, members of the Board of Trust and the university family have done everything possible to make me feel valued and appreciated. I assure you that I do.”

“We are grateful to Chancellor Gee for his efforts over the past seven years and wish him well in his new endeavors,” said Martha R. Ingram, chairman of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. “This is a remarkable university, with the most deeply committed and loyal students, faculty, staff and alumni. Their accomplishments, and the support of our many friends around the world, have made every member of the Vanderbilt family proud and excited for the future.”

Ingram added, “The board looks forward to working with every part of the Vanderbilt community in planning a thorough and inclusive process to select our next chancellor. In the meantime, we are blessed to have an extraordinarily talented senior management team in which we have complete confidence.”

The Executive Committee of the Board of Trust will meet later this week to begin the transition process.

Gee came to Vanderbilt in 2000 as the seventh chancellor in the university’s 134-year history. He previously served as president of Brown University, Ohio State, The University of Colorado and West Virginia University. During his tenure, Vanderbilt has enjoyed significant success in a number of areas, including:

* Completing a $1.25 billion capital campaign two years ahead of schedule and raising the goal to $1.75 billion – with an emphasis on endowed scholarships and faculty chairs.

* Growing the university’s endowment by almost 50 percent, to more than $3 billion.

* Leading the country in the rate of growth for academic research, with external funding increasing from $232 million in 2000 to more than $450 million today.

* Doubling the annual budget for financial aid from $30 million to $60 million, and reducing significantly the debt burden for graduating students.

* Launching the $100 million Academic Venture Capital Fund to seed new research centers in life sciences, social sciences, humanities and culture, which have led to important discoveries and insights and new educational opportunities for undergraduates.

* Increasing applications for admission, from 8,000 in 2000 to more than 13,000 in 2007, and becoming one of the most selective institutions in the country, with average SAT scores rising almost 100 points and with more than 90 percent of incoming students coming from the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

* Renewing Vanderbilt’s commitment to being one of a small number of private universities that admit applicants regardless of their ability to pay and that meet the full demonstrated financial need of all students so that a Vanderbilt education is affordable to all.

* Leading one of the most rapid changes in diversity, with a 50 percent increase in minority students.

* Completing or beginning construction of more than $700 million new facilities for medical research, student services, studio arts, engineering, law, children’s health, diabetes care, performing arts, interdisciplinary work in arts and sciences, tennis, baseball, Jewish life and African-American culture.

* Becoming the most-preferred provider of health care services in Middle Tennessee, with the opening of the most advanced children’s hospital in the country and new clinical services in a number of areas.

* Starting construction of The Commons, a $150 million investment in the undergraduate experience that will transform student life by creating a “campus within a campus” for first-year students beginning with the entering class of 2008.

* Restructuring Vanderbilt’s athletics program, which resulted in unprecedented success with seven of Vanderbilt’s teams ranked in the top 25 during the Spring 2007 season.

Media contact: Michael Schoenfeld, (615) 343-1790