Dr. Michael V. Drake, who left his role as president of The Ohio State University in Columbus at the end of June, will become the next president of the University of California system.

The University of California board of regents announced July 7 Drake had been appointed its 21st president.

Drake was Ohio State’s president since 2014. Prior to that, he served as chancellor of UC Irvine from 2005 to 2014. He was the system-wide vice president for health affairs for the UC system from 2000 to 2005.

“Much has changed in the 15 years since I was given the privilege of becoming chancellor at UC Irvine, but not my absolute belief in this great university and its time-honored mission,” Drake, 69, said in a news release. “I look forward to working with the regents, chancellors, students, faculty, staff, alumni and our broader community as we, together, guide the university through the challenging times ahead. Brenda and I are thrilled to be back. Fiat Lux.”

Kristina M. Johnson was appointed the 16th president of Ohio State last month and she will begin the role Sept. 1. Johnson has been chancellor at the State University of New York since September 2017.

Drake will be the first Black president of the UC system.

The UC board approved Drake’s salary at $890,000. Pending an academic personnel review, Drake will also be appointed as a tenured professor at UC San Francisco.

Drake’s tenure at OSU was marked by record-high applications and graduation rates, research developments and strong donor support, the release said. He established programs to increase student access and affordability, including a tuition guarantee program; enhanced scholarships covering the cost of attendance; and increased grants to support middle- and lower-income students. OSU’s need-based financial aid increased by more than $200 million between 2015 and 2020.

“Dr. Drake personifies the qualities we looked for in selecting a new president: He is committed to seeing the whole student and to supporting all our students,” said John A. Pérez, chair of the UC board of regents, in the release. “He recognizes the incalculable value of faculty and staff to the university’s mission, and he understands the importance of the public and private partnerships that help us achieve that mission. As the first person of color to serve as UC president, Dr. Drake returns to UC at an important point in the university’s journey. This is a homecoming the University of California is very excited to be celebrating early.”

Under his leadership at UC Irvine, Drake enhanced the university’s reputation as it rose to join the top 10 public universities in U.S. News & World Report’s annual list and was ranked by Times Higher Education as the No. 1 university in the U.S. under 50 years old, according to the release. The four-year graduation rate increased by more than 18%, and undergraduate enrollment and diversity also increased. Drake also oversaw the establishment of new schools of law and education, and programs in public health, nursing and pharmacy, the release said.

The 10-month long search for UC’s next president began in September 2019, after President Janet Napolitano announced she would leave in August 2020.

The UC system includes 10 campuses, five medical centers, three nationally affiliated labs, more than 280,000 students, and 230,000 faculty and staff, according to the release.

Drake and his wife, Brenda, have two grown sons and four grandchildren.

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