WARREN - Outgoing Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee stopped in Warren Friday to visit a program held by 4-H and the Warren YMCA that teaches young people about growing and preparing fresh foods and vegetables.
"We are teaching kids, and some adults, about gardening," Paulette Edington, youth program director with the YMCA, said. "We started the gardens inside in November.''
The Trumbull County OSU Extension is working with the YMCA Kids Club to teach nutrition and exercise.
"We have approximately 102 kids participating in the Kids Club this year," Edington said. "We had 65 kids last year. We had kids telling their friends about what they did last year."
The Warren YMCA was one of 15 stops the outgoing OSU president made on Thursday and Friday as part of his final lap around the state promoting The Ohio State University.
Gee, earlier this month, announced that he would retire at the end of the July. The announcement came shortly after it was revealed that Gee made some controversial jokes about the University of Notre Dame, Catholics and why they are not part of the Big 10 conference.
Gee, 69, has served as the university's president twice, from 1990 to 1998 and from 2007 to present.
"I've been doing these tours around the state every year because it is the best way for me to hear from 11.6 million Ohioans across the state about how I can better run the university," Gee said. "And now, obviously, this is an victory lap for me.
"I'm now using this to see the kind of progress the university has made," he said. "These tours energize me, allow me to meet many wonderful people, and it gives me a real sense of the place and purpose of the university in the wider context of the state."
Gee described his role at the university as a way to introduce its beauty and academic excellence and the research that has been done at the university.
"Most importantly, as a land grant university, we hope to make a difference in the lives of every Ohioan," he said. "I want the hearts and minds of the people of the state to believe that OSU is very important to them.''
"It is too early to talk about what my legacy will be," Gee said. "You think about someone's legacy from a 10- to 15-year perspective.
''I'm very proud of what the university has accomplished, and I'm very proud of what I've done,'' he said.