Stable Diffusion: 'Oil painting of WVU President Gordon Gee wearing a golden robe with a crown, with Woodburn Hall burning in the background'

Gordon Gee's Total Compensation as President of West Virginia University

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posted in wvu, #FOIA

West Virginia University (re)hired Gordon Gee as its interim president in December 2013, and appointed him permanently in March 2014 to become the 24th President of the University. Coincidentally, that was also during my first year at WVU, and since then Gee has raked in an exorbitant amount of money on a contract which was recently extended by the WVU Board of Governors into June 2025.

Gee’s comparatively high yearly salary as University President, $800,000 USD, has been covered by quite a few news outlets recently … who are all highlighting approval of his high salary during the budget and enrollment crisis currently facing the University. But each of these outlets missed the mark on communicating the real news to inform the public … y’know, like Gee’s actual contract.

So … here it is:

Gordon Gee’s Employment Agreement (2019)


This is a copy of Gee’s employment letter agreement as it was after he signed and returned it on July 7, 2019.

TL;DR - The $$$$ in Numbers

  • Gee is paid an $800,000 yearly salary, where the State of West Virginia funds $675k and WVU Foundation funds the remaining $125k.
  • When Gee retires, he will receive a $600,000 cash bonus because he stayed longer than the term of his initial agreement.
    • (presumably this will increase by another $200k if he stays after July 2024)
  • When Gee retires or in July 2024, whichever comes first, he will receive a $900,000 cash bonus because he stuck it out 2020 thru 2022.
  • If Gee sticks around until July 2024, he will receive an additional $600,000 cash bonus to be paid out in July 2024.
  • When Gee retires, he will be…
    • granted the “President Emeritus” title and
    • allowed to retain a full tenured professor position in the WVU College of Law and
    • paid whatever the higest paid professor in the WVU College of Law makes (which I estimate will be at minimum $199,776/yr) and
    • provided an on-campus office in the College of Law or elsewhere and
    • provided an administrative support employee for his personal staff and
    • immediately granted a one-year sabbatical where he will receive full benefits and compensation
  • Additionally when Gee retires, the University and the West Virginia University Health System will essentially cover the cost of his medical care for the rest of his life, with no contractually capped maximums.
    • (unless he is employed by another employer which provides health insurance)

So … when it’s all said and done, if Gee is still President of the University by July 2024, he will have pulled out more than $11 million in cash compensation alone since taking the throne in 2013.

And that doesn’t count the other fringe benefits one typically receives by being a major state university president, such as free housing and personal staff at the Blaney House, all the networking and professional connection opportunities, access to the University motor pool and aviation fleet for himself and his family, etc.


You can say many things about Gee and his administration … I can say many things about Gee and his administration … … but, uh, let’s stay on the topic of his compensation.

  • Gee’s bonuses and compensation are not tied to any rational key performance indicators, y’know like enrollment or degrees issued or grades or revenue… instead they are purely based on time and his staying employed, so therefore Gee is not properly incentivized to meet or achieve goals.
  • The WVU Board of Governors is the only method of check for Gee’s performance and productivity, as Gee is directly incentivized to solve problems by kicking the can down the road and delaying as much as possible.
  • Gee must be a stellar negotiator. Compare the goodies from his contract to his predecesssor’s ( James Clements [2009-2013] Employment Agreement via The Internet Archive) and you’ll see after Gee’s commit day he must’ve ran out of that room jumping ’n kicking his heels cartoonishly screaming wahoo!! when the BOG actually accepted his terms.
  • Gee’s predecessors did not get the same mountainous cash bonuses, nor did they get the free medical care from WVU Medicine for life, nor the tenured professor position with guaranteed top salary, etc.


  • I found it weird that searching for Gee’s contract, or any details about it except for his base salary, turned up zero results. Hence this post. Nothing from the dozens of extremely resourceful news publishers, nothing posted by the University themselves. So here I am, just a random guy who loves information, giving you access to the public record and keeping you informed.
  • Information wants to be free. Gordon Gee wants to be paid.

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