Dr. Michael V. Drake, has been named president of Ohio State University, making him the first African-American and the university’s 15th president. Drake, who has been the chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, since 2005, is a medical doctor and member of both the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“Today is a great day for The Ohio State University as we welcome Michael V. Drake as Ohio State’s next president,” board chairman Robert H. Schottenstein said. “He is exactly the right leader at the right moment in the university’s history as we address the challenges of affordability and access, while building on the already strong momentum we have generated at Ohio State in increasing the university’s academic excellence.”
Drake was recommended to the Board of Trustees by an 18-member search committee, chaired by trustee Jeffrey Wadsworth. He will begin work as president on June 30. Wadsworth said that the search committee focused on finding a forward-thinking leader who could further the university’s progress in teaching and learning, innovation and research, outreach and engagement and resource stewardship.
“The charge to members of the Presidential Search Committee was to find a leader with vision, someone who could lead a highly complex organization, who had a deep understanding of university culture and superb leadership skills,” Wadsworth said. “In Michael Drake, we have surely found that person.”
As chancellor of UC Irvine, Drake has been responsible for substantial increases in the institution’s academic breadth and reach. He oversaw the creation of the first new public law school in California in more than 40 years, and successfully led the launch of several new programs in public health, pharmaceutical sciences and nursing science. The UC Irvine School of Education also was established under his leadership.
“It is a tremendous honor to be asked to serve as president of The Ohio State University,” said Drake. “The university embodies and defines the mission of a modern land-grant institution. In every sense one can imagine, the university is demonstrating national leadership in developing the model for public higher education. I am thankful for the board’s confidence and eager to begin my duties.”
Drake will help guide Ohio State’s ongoing $2.5 billion But for Ohio State Campaign. One key component of that campaign is to provide scholarships and financial aid opportunities to ensure education is affordable. Drake participated in a similar campaign at UC Irvine, leading 50 cyclists on a 25-mile bicycle tour to support higher education as part of the University of California’s Promise for Education.
Deborah Jones Merritt, convener of the Presidential Search Advisory Subcommittee and the John Deaver Drinko-Baker and Hostetler Chair in Law, underscored Drake’s deep academic experience. “In Michael V. Drake, we have a president whose qualities surpass the ambitious list of attributes we were looking for in Ohio State’s next leader. Dr. Drake is an inclusive leader and acclaimed scholar. He cares deeply about faculty, staff, students and the community. Those are the qualities that will build on our momentum and lead us forward at this moment of promise,” said Merritt.
Before becoming chancellor at Irvine, Drake served as vice president for health affairs for the University of California system (2000–2005), overseeing academic program policy for the system’s 15 health science schools. He directed the special research programs in tobacco, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS; co-chaired the California/Mexico Health Initiative; launched the PRIME (Program In Medical Education) initiative to train physicians to care for underserved populations statewide; and founded the California Health Benefits Review Program. Prior to that, he spent more than 20 years on the faculty of the UC San Francisco School of Medicine, ultimately becoming the Steven P. Shearing Professor of Ophthalmology and senior associate dean.
Drake has received numerous honors and awards for teaching, public service and groundbreaking research. His accolades include the Burbridge Award for Public Service, the Asbury Award (clinical science), the Michael J. Hogan Award (laboratory science), the UCSF School of Medicine Clinical Teaching Award, the S.J. Kimura Teaching Award, the UCSF School of Medicine Alumnus of the Year Award and the Gold-Headed Cane Society Speaker’s Cane, among others.
He has served as trustee and president of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and as chair of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Academic Health Centers. Drake is also on the NCAA Board of Directors, which brings together 18 university chief executives and acts as the leading governing body for intercollegiate athletics.
He is an alumnus of Stanford University (A.B.) and UC San Francisco (M.D.). Drake’s wife Brenda, who holds degrees from Stanford (A.B.) and UC Berkeley (J.D.), is an attorney and community leader. She has led several foundations and nonprofit agencies, serving as either a trustee or executive director. The couple are the parents to two grown sons.
The Presidential Search Committee began its efforts last summer. The committee sought input and guidance from faculty members, elected student leaders, staff, senior administrators, alumni and community members. An Advisory Subcommittee held more than 30 forums across the state to identify the qualities desired in Ohio State’s next president. Early in the search process, the Board of Trustees also sponsored a Symposium on the University Presidency, during which current and former leaders of four prominent universities gathered at Ohio State to provide insight on the modern university presidency.