2012 NEAFCS Annual Conference Opening Keynote Summary

Margaret Jenkins (OH)

Dr. E. Gordon Gee, President of The Ohio State University, dazzled the crowd with his keynote presentation at the opening general session of the 2012 Annual Conference.  Dr. Gee identified with the conference theme “EXPLORING Our Strengths, DISCOVERING Our Potential, LEADING the Way to Our Future”.  He shared memories of growing up in Vernal, Utah followed by graduation from the University of Utah with an honors degree in history and earning his J.D. and Ed.D. degrees from Columbia University.  Dr. Gee clerked early in his career with the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals before being named a judicial fellow and staff assistant to the U.S. Supreme Court. In this role, he worked for Chief Justice Warren Burger on administrative and legal problems of the Court and federal judiciary.  He returned to Utah in 1978 as an associate professor and associate dean in the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University and in 1981 he began providing leadership as a university president.  Prior to his current presidential service at The Ohio State, he led Vanderbilt University (2001-2007), Brown University (1998-2000), The Ohio State University (1990-97), the University of Colorado (1985-90), and West Virginia University (1981-85). 

This two-time Ohio State University President expressed his values for the land-grant system by explaining how the 150 year old Morrill Act continues to be a valuable resource for our nation.  Dr. Gee explained how he visits all 88 counties in Ohio over a two-year period.  He proudly shared a testimonial from an Expanded Food and Nutrition Program participant with whom he spoke during the 2012 tour. The participant credited her involvement with OSUE “as guiding her to a career that allowed her to purchase a home for her family”.  Dr. Gee ended his address by suggesting that we should “Look through the windshield not the rearview mirror” as we all LEAD the Way to Our Future. 

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