Dr. Gee’s first message to Wheeling Park students was this: whatever path you choose, some form of higher education is vital.

“I’d love to have them all come to the University!” he said with a smile. “But I want them all to know that education is their future. Whether they come to the University, a community college or technical.”

He chatted with administrators and students.

Senior Kailynn Saunders was already on board.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “I’m going there next year. And I’ve been obsessed with it for the past two years. All my siblings have attended Marshall but I’m the one to make the change and go to WVU.”

They led him on a tour of the newly-updated school.

He was impressed by the quantity and quality of students.

And he said it has the right balance of academics and fun.

“That he wants to go around and meet our students and talk to them in this informal way, it’s actually better for us,” said Meredith Dailer, WPHS principal. “Because our kids actually get to see the leader of a University, be with him, talk with him, and he’s just so personable. We’re thrilled to have him with us.”

They gave him a student-crafted map of West Virginia.

Speaking of West Virginia, his second message was: Please stay here.  Too many bright young people leave the state.

“West Virginia is blessed to have great talent,” Dr. Gee said with a grin. “We have as many geniuses here in West Virginia as they have in California. We just need to keep our geniuses here!”

He called WVU the Goldilocks school— not too big, not too small, just right.