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Gee’s signature item ties Buckeyes, charity

Some might know him for his off-color comments, others for his appearances at parties, but everyone knows him for his signature fashion statement: the bow tie.

President E. Gordon Gee has donated a signed bow tie to a silent auction event Wednesday evening, which is expected to be one of the more popular items up for auction.

The auction is hosted by a Pelotonia team, Team Buckeye Student Riders, and will take place from 6–9 p.m. at Woody’s Tavern in the Ohio Union.

The event is free and open to anyone. All proceeds from the auction will go to research at Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

Team Buckeye Student Riders is a student-run group that rides each year in Pelotonia, an annual bike tour that raises money for cancer research.

“We’re a non-profit kind of student organization,” said Lauren Kreger, marketing captain for the group.

Items up for auction include a $200 Target gift card, Blue Jackets tickets, Kaplan test kits, a Fuji road bike, a Camelot Cellars wine experience and, of course, the autographed bow tie.

Gee’s bow tie tradition began more than 50 years ago when he was sitting in an ophthalmology office with his dad in Salt Lake City. He saw someone sporting the fashionable neckware for the first time.

“The guy sitting next to me had one, and I asked him what it was, kind of curious,” Gee told The Lantern in 2010. “He undid it and then he tied it again, and I said, ‘How cool.'”

Gee said he had his father buy him a couple bow ties that day, and now he has a collection of more than 1,000 bow ties.

Kreger said she expects the bow tie to be one of the most popular items at the auction.

“Signed by Gee, it’s priceless,” Kreger said.

The doors open at 6 p.m., but people can come and go as they please for the duration, Kreger said. Items are set on tables with bid sheets in front of them, and bidders can write down new bids all night.

This isn’t the first time one of Gee’s bow ties could be worn by someone else.

One of his bow ties has made a journey into space. Richard M. Linnehan, an OSU alumnus, borrowed one of Gee’s scarlet and gray bow ties to take aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 2008.

In addition to the auction, patrons can buy raffle tickets to win smaller items. Tickets are $1 for one, or $5 for six. A raffle winner will be drawn every 15 minutes, Kreger said.

Most items up for bid are valued between $50 and $100, but the starting bids will be much lower, Kreger said.

Megan Courter, a second-year in pre-nursing, said she has always wanted to join a Pelotonia team and she would definitely go to the auction.

“It’s a good cause,” Courter said.

On top of its charitable cause, Courter said the silent auction will be a good way to get away from her midterms.

While the neckware of choice for most people is probably a long tie, Gee said he will always be a bow tie wearer.

“I do not own a long tie,” he said. “In fact, I don’t know how to tie a long tie.”

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