After more than three decades as a college president at five institutions, E. Gordon Gee has become one of the most recognizable names in higher education. He is known for his quirky demeanor and common touch with students, but his personality has sometimes been his own worst enemy. His jokes about sports and religion have made headlines, most recently straining his relationship with trustees at Ohio State University, where he resigned as president in 2013.
Mr. Gee, 69, took the helm at West Virginia University this month. This is a return to West Virginia for Mr. Gee, who began his presidential career there in 1981. In a conversation this week with The Chronicle, he talked about the opportunity to end his career on a better note at West Virginia, and about the perils of humor in the college presidency.