KEYSER - Dr. Gordon Gee, back in the presidential seat at West Virginia University after being off campus for over 25 years, was in Keyser Wednesday to visit with the administration and faculty at Potomac State College.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Dr. Gordon Gee, back in the presidential seat at West Virginia University after being off campus for over 25 years,  was in Keyser Wednesday to visit with the administration and faculty at Potomac State College.
Accompanied by Steven C. Bonanno, interim director of the WVU Extension Service, they also visited the Mineral County Extension Office and met with representatives of the newest local member of the WVU family - Potomac Valley Hospital.
Gee, who served as one of WVU's youngest presidents in the early 1980s, was tapped as interim president last year when James Clements accepted the presidency at Clemson University. On March 3, Gee was appointed as the university's 24th permanent president following an endorsement by the WVU presidential search committee.
Wednesday, during a stop at the News Tribune office, Gee explained that he was launching a quest to personally visit all of West Virginia's 55 counties in order to meet personally with the people whom the university serves.
Noting that the tour is his way of reconnecting with the people of West Virginia, Gee said he wanted to hear from the people themselves what they like about, and what they expect from, from the university system.
"I'm very engaged in trying to understand and discover the West Virginia of 2014," he said, noting that the needs of the state today are very different from the needs of the early 1980s when he was first at the helm of the university.
"We have a responsibility (at the university) to create ideas and create jobs for today's West Virginia," he said.
He had many words of praise for Potomac State, the local Extension office, and Potomac Valley Hospital.
"There's a great spirit" at Potomac State College, he said, adding that the college's size is perfect - large enough to provide students with what they need, yet small enough to help those students on a more personal level.
"There is great leadership; our campus president is terrific," he said of Dr. Leonard Colelli, adding that the faculty members at Potomac State "are very excited" about what the future holds.
He hopes to work on boosting the college's enrollment, and to emphasize to the PSC students that they are "part of the much broader university system."
As for the Extension Service, Gee looks to them to "look very carefully at how they can play a more modern role" in education.
Expanding upon that, Bonanno mentioned the growing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs spearheaded by the Extension Service, and how it offers the opportunity for college students to reach out to younger students and share their knowledge in those areas.
Gee also expressed his excitement at bringing Potomac Valley Hospital into the WVU Healthcare fold, calling the hospital "very much a part of our team."
Accompanying Gee and Bonanno to Keyser were Becky Lofstead, assist vice president of university communications and Sharon Martin, vice president of university relations.