The University of California Board of Regents has appointed 69-year old Michael V. Drake, M.D., as the first Black president of the institution’s world-renowned system of 10 campuses, five medical centers, three nationally affiliated labs, more than 280,000 students and 230,000 faculty and staff. All of the facilities combined are worth $1.6 billion.
Drake has a long and distinguished career in higher education, most recently as president of The Ohio State University (OSU). Prior to his six years at OSU, his entire academic career has been at UC, including as chancellor of UC Irvine for nine years and as the systemwide vice president for health affairs for five years.
Drake received his A.B. from Stanford University and his residency, M.D., and fellowship in ophthalmology from UCSF. He subsequently spent more than two decades on the faculty of the UCSF School of Medicine, including as the Steven P. Shearing Professor of Ophthalmology.
Under his leadership, Drake greatly enhanced UC Irvine’s reputation as a premier university. UC Irvine 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. During his tenure at the campus, the four-year graduation rate increased by more than 18 percent, while undergraduate enrollment and diversity significantly increased. In addition, Drake oversaw the establishment of new schools of law and education as well as programs in public health, nursing and pharmacy.
Drake’s tenure at OSU was marked by record-high applications and graduation rates, groundbreaking research and strong donor support. He established several successful 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. In fact, OSU’s need-based financial aid increased by more than $200 million between 2015 and 2020.
“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 said. “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!”
Drake has published numerous articles and co-authored six books. He served as a reviewer for several medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science and the American Journal of Ophthalmology. Drake is a member of several national scientific and scholarly societies, and has received various awards for teaching, public service, mentoring and research. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the UCSF School of Medicine’s Clinical Teaching Award, the Hogan Award for Laboratory Research, the Chancellor’s Award for Public Service, the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for University Service, the UC Irvine Medal, and the University of California Presidential Medal in recognition of his exemplary service to the University.
Drake’s extensive public service experience includes various roles for the American Medical Association, the National Eye Institute, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and multiple commissions on health in the state of California. He is a former chair of the board of directors of the Association of American Universities and currently serves as a member of the board of directors for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. He is also the chair of the board of governors of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, a member of the American Talent Initiative Steering Committee, and a member of the board of directors of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Board approved Drake’s salary at $890,000.