Ohio State University Names First Black President


Dr. Michael V. Drake, chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, has been named president of Ohio State University. It is the first time that the state’s largest university system will be headed by an African American.

Drake, 63, will be the 15th president of Ohio State.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Drake was scheduled to meet with university officials Jan. 30 to accept their offer to serve as Ohio State’s president.

Drake attended Sacramento City College before switching to Stanford, where he completed his undergraduate degree. He attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where he began his teaching career. His specialty is ophthalmology.

In 2005, he became the chief administrator at UC Irvine. There, he ushered in the building of a new law school and the creation of a school of education and reenergized the medical school, which had been investigated after being the site of scandal, the Dispatch reported.

According to Drake’s bio on the UCI website, applications for admission have increased by more than 90 percent since he took the helm; in 2013, for example, the university received 82,450 applications for 6,000 openings. The number of students who graduate in four years has increased by 19 percent and the number of students from “underrepresented minorities” has increased by 59.1 percent. Of the members of the class of 2017, 60 percent were the first in their families to ever attend a four-year college or university, the website said.

In 2012 and 2013, UCI was designated the top university in the U.S. and one of the top five in the world.

Drake teaches a freshman course on how the music of the 1960s contributed to the Civil Rights Movement and led 50 cyclists on a 25-mile tour of Irvine.

Before joining the administration at UCI, he spent five years as vice president for health affairs for the University of California system, where he was in charge of academic program policy at the system’s 15 health sciences schools. His work also includes directing research programs in tobacco, breast cancer, and HIV/AIDS.

He spent 20 years on the faculty of the UCSF and has authored five textbooks, the website shows. He also serves on the board of directors for the NCAA.

He is married to Brenda. They have two grown sons and two grandchildren.

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