Meet Ohio State University’s 1st black college president, Michael Drake

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Ohio State University trustees picked a former California chancellor as the school’s next president Thursday, ending a search that began with the former president, Gordon Gee’s retirement following demeaning remarks about Roman Catholics and Southeastern Conference schools.

Trustees voted unanimously in favor of University of California, Irvine chancellor Michael Drake to become the 15th president of Ohio State.


“Dr. Drake was the strongest and the consensus candidate,” said Jeffrey Wadsworth, an Ohio State University trustee who led the search, according to ABC News.

Drake, 63, is an ophthalmology professor who also is a published textbook author. In 2005, Drake was named the fifth chancellor of Irvine campus within the renowned University of California system. He also served as a professor during his tenure.


Drake, who will be Ohio State’s first black president, begins June 30.

Drake said he was humbled by the opportunity and looking forward to working at Ohio State. He said the university is “in many ways the premier position in higher education in the United States today.”

“The trajectory of Ohio State and the power of Ohio State are admired and understood throughout the world of higher education,” Drake said. He said the university is one of only a few with “the heft, the power and the capacity” to serve not just the state but the country and world.

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