October 30, 2014

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Outgoing OSU president to visit Amherst bakery

AMHERST — Talk about timing.

Gee

Gee

A visit set for next week by embattled Ohio State University President Gordon Gee to Kiedrowski’s Simply Delicious Bakery was planned about three weeks ago.

Despite the controversy Gee has stirred over remarks he made slighting Catholics, Notre Dame, and other academic institutions, Gee is still slated to tour the bakery, fry doughnuts, and take part in other activities during a June 13 stop as part of an Ohio State University-sponsored state tour.

“Yes, it’s still happening,” owner Tim Kiedrowski said Wednesday. “He’s (Gee) still a character and a personality and so many people like him. It’s great to get him to come here. It’ll be a good thing.”

Gee, who has publicly apologized for his remarks, announced his retirement Tuesday after 12 years as OSU president. He officially will step down July 1.

Plans for the tour are still set, according to Max Stearns of Ohio State University’s Office of Student Life.

Stearns, who has been involved in planning the bus tour, said Wednesday the promotional tour was still going ahead.

“Some scheduling is being adjusted, and some of it is still up in the air and not just because of what happened,” Stearns said, referring to the Gee controversy. “Nothing has been taken off the table at this point. It still appears to be on.”

Stearns said he could not comment when asked whether any location had asked to be dropped from the tour.

Despite the firestorm of criticism, Gee’s stop at the bakery will be fun, according to Kiedrowski, who is Catholic, and said he wasn’t offended by Gee’s comments.

During a December meeting, Gee joked that Notre Dame was not invited to join the Big Ten because “you just can’t trust those damn Catholics.”

“I’m Catholic and it didn’t bother me,” Kiedrowski said.

In today’s media-saturated world, Kiedrowski said, “You have to pay attention to what you say, because, if you’re in the public eye like he is, what you say is out there right away. It’s instantaneous.”

Still, Kiedrowski said he felt for Gee.

“Because it was him, it just got way overblown,” Kiedrowski said.

Gee’s visit is part of an OSU-sponsored “Tour of Ohio” designed to promote businesses, cultural attractions and other facets of Ohio while also promoting Ohio State, Kiedrowski said.

“They based their stops on a survey of Ohio State students and alumni who were asked ‘what is the best thing in your county’ and we supposedly topped the list by what they said was an overwhelming majority,” Kiedrowski said.

“We essentially asked people about the best places in each county and had them give us feedback,” Stearns said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.