Ivy Style’s Facebook group has been lively lately, so if you can’t get enough discussion of sartorial (and cultural) matters with your natural-shouldered brothers, then come over and join us.
Recently a reader dug up this photo of the massive bow tie collection of E. Gordon Gee, currently the president of West Virginia University. Perform a Google Image search on him and you’ll find that he nearly always wears a beaming smile and must be a very charismatic fellow. He also wears tortoiseshell glasses and functional watches:
But all those ties don’t come cheap, and Gee has been hounded by financial scandals. Here’s a report surrounding his previous employment as the president of Ohio State. Reports the Dayton Daily News:
Since returning to Columbus as the university’s president in October 2007, the 68-year-old Gee has pulled in $8.6 million in salary and compensation, making him the highest paid CEO of a public university in the country.
But his expenses — hidden among hard-to-get records that the university took nearly a year to release — tally nearly as much: $7.7 million.
Gee’s spending is kept out of the public eye because it can be tallied only by examining multiple reports, including the quarterly discretionary expense reports delivered to the trustees and not easily obtainable by others. The Daily News first requested records documenting Gee’s work day, housing, American Express statements, travel expenses, discretionary spending reports and other data in September 2011. The university did not fully respond to the request until August 2012.
Those records show Gee stays in luxury hotels, dines at country clubs and swank restaurants, throws lavish parties, flies on private jets and hands out thousands of gifts — all at public expense.
The Daily News investigation found the university spent more than $895,000 for gatherings at the Pizzuti House, the president’s mansion, between April 2008 and June 2011. That works out to be about $23,000 a month — a little less than the average cost of a wedding.
The university spends tens of thousands of dollars alone branding Gee around his signature bow ties. Since 2007, Ohio State has spent more than $64,000 on bow ties, bow tie cookies and O-H and bow tie pins for Gee and others to distribute, the newspaper found.
Gee also helmed Brown for two years amid much controversy. From Wikipedia:
Gee was president of Brown for only two years, and his tenure was mired in controversy. According to The Village Voice and The College Hill Independent, one of the university’s campus newspapers, Gee was criticized by students and faculty for treating the school like a Wall Street corporation rather than an Ivy League university.
Critics pointed to his decisions to sign off on an ambitious brain science program without consulting the faculty, to sell $80 million in bonds for the construction of a biomedical sciences building, and to cut the university’s extremely popular Charleston String Quartet, which many saw as part of Gee’s effort to lead the school away from its close but unprofitable relationship with the arts. Gee and his wife were also blamed for an extravagant renovation of the president’s residence, which reportedly cost several million dollars.
Gee left under a storm of criticism in 2000, as members of the Brown community widely accused him of departing from the school after an uncommonly short tenure because of Vanderbilt University’s offer of a corporate-level salary and a tenured teaching position for his wife. According to a 2003 article by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Gee was the second highest paid university chief executive in the country with a purported total compensation package of more than $1.3 million.
Gee’s tumultuous tenure at Brown is commemorated annually with the “E. Gordon Gee Lavatory Complex,” a collection of portable toilets that appears during Spring Weekend.
Some people say never trust a man in a bow tie. Of course, some say the same about a man with a beard.
And if you’ve got $64,000 to spend on bow ties, whether from public or private funds, visit our longtime sponsor bowties.com. — CC