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E. Gordon Gee makes stop at Weirton Madonna

WEIRTON — As “Country Roads” played in the gymnasium, students from Weirton Madonna High School welcomed E. Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University, Thursday as part of a day of special activities.

Gee was introduced by Thaiddeus “Ted” Dillie, a Madonna graduate who is a junior biochemistry major and who has been selected as the alternate Mountaineer mascot for the 2019-20 school year.

Gee encouraged the students to continue their academic careers, and, especially, to try to remain in West Virginia if possible. Having served as president of several colleges, including Brown University and Ohio State University, he told the students that whether they go to a large school or a small one, to make sure it is the right fit.

“You want to find a college that makes you feel comfortable,” Gee said.

He also took time to allow students to ask questions of him, including about his famous collection of bow ties. He explained he has more than 1,000 ties and wears a different one every day.

When asked about his favorite sports, Gee said he likes to watch WVU’s women’s soccer and volleyball teams, and enjoys the spirit at WVU football games.

“When you get 80,000 people running around, you can’t beat it,” he said.

He also said the university is looking into launching a men’s track team.

Gee also told the students he enjoys Italian food best, but noted he and Dillie made a stop at Dee-Jay’s BBQ Ribs and Grille prior to their visit at Madonna Thursday.

Gee also discussed his efforts to spend time with WVU’s students, explaining he periodically will gather a group of freshmen, take them to dinner and then spend an evening attending campus activities with them.

“I work for the students,” Gee said. “How can I know what you want and what you experience unless I experience it with you?”

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