The Greater Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce is, once again, hosting its Annual Dinner Meeting at The Greenbrier. This is always an exciting event, where business leaders throughout our wonderful community get together for networking, good food and a great time. The guest speaker for this year’s event is Dr. E. Gordon Gee, interim president for West Virginia University. We will also be honoring our Business Leader of the Year, Gary Ambler.
The Annual Meeting will be held Tuesday, Mar. 18 starting at 6 p.m. We will be having a delicious three-course gourmet dinner provided by The Greenbrier’s top-notch chefs. A reception will precede the event. For more information about the dinner and reservations, please contact Amber McHale, executive director, at 304-645-2818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize our 2014 Business Leader of the Year, Gary Ambler. Ambler is a 1970 graduate of Marshall University with a Bachelor of Arts in Education. While at Marshall University, Ambler played baseball for three years for the Thundering Herd. Following college, he began his teaching career at Union High School where he coached football, basketball and baseball. He was recognized as a Class Single-A outstanding football coach in 1971. Ambler went on to teach and coach at Greenbrier East High School where he was later inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame. In 1974, Ambler left the academic world and joined his father as a partner in Marvin Ambler Building Contractors. In 1982, Ambler was one of the five original developers of the Brier Inn Complex. Ambler later became the sole owner of that endeavor and expanded the hotel business with the addition of the Hampton Inn in 1999 and the Fairfield Inn and Suites in 2011. He continues to manage operations at all three properties. Throughout his business career, Ambler remained active in youth sports and is currently involved in community projects such as the Local School Improvement Council at EGMS and is a board member of Greenbrier Valley Recreation. He is a member of the Ronceverte Presbyterian Church where he currently serves as a Trustee. Ambler is a native of Ronceverte, where he resides with his wife, Rosalie. He is the proud father of two children and six grandchildren.
The guest speaker for this year’s annual event is Dr. E. Gordon Gee, interim president of West Virginia University. Dr. Gee served as president of The Ohio State University from 1990 to 1997 and again from 2007 to 2013. Prior to his service at Ohio State, he led Vanderbilt University (2001-2007), Brown University (1998-2000), the University of Colorado (1985-1990) and West Virginia University (1981-1985). He returned to WVU to serve as president for a term in January 2014. Gee has served in higher education for more than three decades and in 2009 was named by Time magazine as one of the top-10 university presidents in the United States.
Born in Vernal, Utah, Gee graduated from the University of Utah with an honors degree in history and earned his J.D. and Ed.D degrees from Columbia University. He clerked under Chief Justice David T. Lewis of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals before being named a judicial fellow and staff assistant to the U.S. Supreme Court. In this role, he worked for Chief Justice Warren Burger on administrative and legal problems of the Court and federal judiciary. Gee returned to Utah as an associate professor and associate dean in the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, and was granted full professorship in 1978. One year later, he was named dean of the West Virginia University Law School, and, in 1981, was appointed to that university’s presidency.
Gee has been a member of several education-governance organizations and committees, including the Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents, the Inter-University Council of Ohio, the Business-Higher Education Forum and the American Association of Universities. He was chair of the American Council on Education’s Commission on Higher Education Attainment and served as co-chair of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Energy Advisory Committee. In 2009, Gee was invited to join the International Advisory Board of King Adbulaziz University in Saudi Arabia.
Active in a number of national professional and service organizations during his tenures, he has served on the boards for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc., Limited Brands, and the National 4-H Council. In 2011, Gee was appointed to serve as secretary on the Board of Directors of Ohio’s economic development program, JobsOhio. In 2011-2012, he was asked by Governor Kasich to chair both the Ohio Higher Education Capital Funding Collaborative and the Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission. And in December 2012, he was asked to serve on the Columbus Education Commission.
Gee has received a number of honorary degrees, awards, fellowships, and recognitions. He is a fellow of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest science organization. In 1994, Gee received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Utah, as well as from Teachers College of Columbia University. In 2013, he received the ACE Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award and received the Outstanding Academic Leader of the Year Award on behalf of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He is the co-author of 11 books, including Law, Policy and Higher Education, published in 2012. He is also the author of numerous papers and articles on law and education.
Gee’s daughter, Rebekah, is the Medicaid Medical Director for the State of Louisiana, and an assistant professor of Public Health and Medicine at Louisiana State University. She is also a Norman F. Gant/American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology/IOM Anniversary Fellow.