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Thursday, July 15,2010

OSU top dog visits OU, talks climate

By Alec G. Bojalad  
Ohio State University President Gordon Gee, red and white bow tie, checkered socks and all, arrived in Athens on Wednesday as part of his yearly tour to every Ohio county.



Gee met with Ohio University President Roderick McDavis at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs to discuss their universities’ joint efforts to support climate-change legislation.

After poking fun at the spelling of each others’ name and the quality of their respective schools’ football teams, Gee and McDavis entered Building #21 at the Ridges and heard three brief presentations from OU faculty.

Scott Miller, director of the Voinovich School’s energy efforts, and professor Kevin Crist of the Russ College of Engineering spoke of the importance of assuring Ohio’s competitiveness in the newly limited carbon energy environment. Miller and Crist’s presentation said the state of Ohio is the fourth-highest greenhouse-gas producer in the country. Miller and Crist agreed it will be difficult to break Ohio of its rust belt and coal history.

Professor David Bayless of Russ College of Engineering then updated Gee and McDavis on the progress of OU and OSU’s clean-coal partnership.

Gee expressed appreciation for OU’s role in the partnership.

“Your institution is small enough to be agile,” he said to McDavis. “Ours is like a damn elephant.”

McDavis echoed Gee’s sentiments. “There is so much more we can do together than separately. We can help our institutions, but more importantly our state,” he said.

Gee and McDavis heard a final presentation from Hugh Sherman, dean of the College of Business, Mark Weinberg director of the Voinovich School, and Lynn Gellermann, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, on the importance of both universities’ continued dedication to entrepreneurial education.

Gee expressed interest in the Voinovich School’s focus on synthesis among different schools and practices.

“I’m a bit of an education radical,” Gee said.

“I think we would do away with departments and colleges entirely, and organize universities around centers of work and let them flow.”

Gee also shared his thoughts on education with McDavis and faculty present at the event.

“We need to view everyone in the university as a member of a talent pool,” he said.

After the roughly 45-minute meeting, Gee and McDavis left for the Court Street Diner for a meeting with invited OSU alums.

Gee is the highest-paid university president in the country, and in 2009 Time magazine named him the best university president in the country.


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