Revised January 2000
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel
E. Gordon Gee, seventeenth president of Brown University
E. Gordon Gee was named president of Brown University on June 27, 1997, and took up his duties in Providence on January 5, 1998. He is the University’s seventeenth president.
Since his arrival, Gee has worked to ensure that Brown will remain “a private university with a public purpose.” As part of that commitment to public engagement, he is director of Health and Education Leadership for Providence, a public service coalition of nonprofit institutions; president of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council; director of the Providence Plan; trustee of the Providence Foundation; member of the Economic Policy Council; director of Grow Smart Rhode Island; and chairman of the search committee that successfully identified and recruited a new public school superintendent for the City of Providence.
Gee was born in Vernal, Utah, on February 2, 1944. He was valedictorian of his 150-person high school class and president of the student body. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Utah in 1968 and a law degree and doctorate in education from Columbia University in 1971 and 1972, respectively. At Columbia, he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Kellogg Fellow.
After his graduate work at Columbia, Gee returned to the University of Utah, serving as assistant law dean from 1973 to 1974. He was a judicial fellow and senior staff assistant in the chambers of the Chief Justice of the United States from 1974 to 1975, and associate law dean and professor of law in the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University from 1975 to 1979. He was dean and professor of law in the College of Law at West Virginia University from 1979 to 1981.
In 1981, at age 37, Gee became one of the country’s youngest college presidents when he assumed the leadership of West Virginia University. He became president of the University of Colorado in 1985 and president of The Ohio State University in 1990. An outspoken and tireless advocate for higher education, Gee served as chair of the Association of American Universities for the 1997-98 academic year and assumed leadership of the Ivy League Council of Presidents in June 1999.
In addition to the University presidency, Gee holds a faculty appointment as professor of education and public policy and continues his interest in teaching and academic advising. His course offerings include “The Law and Public Policy” and “The Presidential Seminar.” The latter course is part of a broader initiative that focuses campus and community attention on a given theme during the year. Through his classes and through public presentations by guest lecturers, Gee has encouraged consideration of the nature of community and the public side of the University.
In May 1999, Gee and Chancellor Stephen Robert announced creation of the Robert Values Initiative, an academic venture designed to encourage focused inquiry into human values across the curriculum. The three-year initiative will enrich the freshman experience through new courses and dormitory-based small group tutorials, the College curriculum, departmental scholarship, graduate fellowships and the University’s program of public lectures.
Gee has written or co-written seven books, including Information Literacy: Revolution in the Library, which won the American Library’s Association’s G.K. Hall Award in 1990 for outstanding contribution to library literature. The second edition of Education Law and the Public Schools: A Compendium was published in 1997.
Gee is married to Constance Bumgarner Gee, assistant professor of education and public policy at Brown. His daughter Rebekah, a 1997 graduate of Columbia University, began medical studies at Cornell in 1998.