Ohio State names California educator as president
COLUMBUS, Jan. 30, 2014 (AP): Ohio State University
trustees picked a California educator as the school's next
president Thursday, ending a search that began with the former
president's retirement following remarks critical of 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.
Drake, 63, is an ophthalmology professor who also is a published
textbook author. In 2005 he was named the fifth chancellor of UC
Irvine, where he also served as a professor.
Drake, who will be Ohio State's first black president, begins
June 30. His salary is still being negotiated. Former president
Gordon Gee was one of the country's highest paid
presidents with total compensation of almost $2 million.
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
``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.
Under his tenure, undergraduate applications at Irvine increased
more than 90 percent and the four-year graduation rate rose by
nearly 20 percent. In 2006, Drake oversaw the creation of the
first new public law school in California in more than 40 years.
He also launched new programs in public health, pharmaceutical
sciences and nursing science tailored to meet the community's
Before the chancellor's job, Drake worked for five years as vice
president for health affairs for the University of California
system, where he oversaw academic program policy at UC's 15
health sciences schools. Prior to that, he was on the faculty of
the UC San Francisco School of Medicine for more than two
decades. He also serves on the NCAA board of directors.
Drake received his undergraduate degree from Stanford
University and his medical degree from UC San Francisco.
He and his wife, Brenda, have two adult sons and two
grandchildren. Drake's mother grew up in Youngstown where
she graduated from high school, and Drake said he felt a sense
of completing a circle by coming to Ohio for the president's
At Ohio State, Drake will lead one of the nation's largest
public universities, one with a national profile in both
academics and sports. The search committee had said that it was
looking for someone with a record of significant fundraising and
that an understanding of an academic medical center and top NCAA
athletic programs would be desirable.
The presidential search was on track to cost more than $300,000.
About a third of that is expenses for a one-day forum on the
state of the college presidency. More than $200,000 was being
paid to a head-hunting firm.
In addition to its undergraduate academic programs, medical
school and hospital, and high-profile sports teams, Ohio State
also has professional schools for business, law, and pharmacy,
among many others.
Gee retired from Ohio State last year following remarks about
``those damn Catholics'' at Notre Dame being the reason the
school was never invited to join the Big Ten athletic
conference. He also took shots at Southeastern Conference
Gee, now the interim president at West Virginia University,
had called his remarks ``a poor attempt at humor and entirely
In a statement Thursday, Gee called Drake ``a world-class
academic and an exceptionally able and seasoned higher education
Drake said he had known Gee for years and expected to work with
him as a colleague.