E. Gordon Gee took some time away from packing his office at Vanderbilt University Wednesday for a podcast interview  about his much-discussed move  back to the presidency of Ohio State University.
Gee -- who has been president of five universities, including his first run at Ohio State -- acknowledged that switching presidencies "stretches your credibility," but he said that he felt compelled to return to public higher education and to the clear sense of obligation to a state's citizens that comes with it.
But while Gee values the "calling" of public higher education, he rejected the idea that public university presidents should be paid less than their private counterparts -- and defended his compensation package,  which with deferred compensation will be $1 million.
He also shared thoughts on athletics (promising to carry to Ohio State the philosophy, if not the structure , he used at Vanderbilt), the desire of boards looking for chief executives to hire sitting presidents, and his plans about whom to consult when he returns to Columbus. For recruiters out there wondering, he said that any boards that try to recruit him once he moves to Ohio State would be "crazy."