Big Spender

E. GORDON Gee has a plumb job. The stylish 68-year-old is president of The Ohio State University.

It is his second time he has served in that capacity. Gee flourishes in that role. As a result, so does the university.

Gee, however, has come under criticism for his lavish spending habits, at the expense of Ohio State.

Gee has spent $7.7 million on top of his record-setting compensation to travel, entertain, and maintain his 9,600-square-foot mansion, an investigation has uncovered.

At first glance, such a figure is staggering.

Especially when you consider that is in addition to his $8.6 million in salary and benefits he’s collected since returning to Ohio State in October 2007.

Records reveal Gee travels the globe often on private jets, staying in luxury hotels, dines at country clubs and fancy restaurants and throws dozens of expensive parties a year for thousands of guests.

Plumb job, indeed.

However, Gee’s supporters say the money is being well spent. They may be right.

First, Ohio State officials note endowments and private donations – not tuition or tax dollars – are used to fund Gee’s travels.

Moreover, it appears that $7.7 million is seed money to prime the donation pump for the Scarlet & Gray. A university spokesman indicates since arriving at the university, Gee’s globe-trotting efforts have generated $1.6 billion from donors. Steps taken by Gee over the past two years have yielded another $1 billion in investments, returns on business deals and savings.

It appears Gee’s travels are paying nice dividends for the university.

The bow-tie sporting president may personify extravagance, but that lifestyle has proven effective in keeping the gift-giving pipelines flowing into Columbus while also helping The Ohio State University continue to be one of the model universities in the nation.