Ohio State University Gets First Black President

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Photo of Dr. Michael Drake president of Ohio State UniversityAt the beginning of the year, for the first time in the 144-year history of Ohio State University, the school appointed a Black president. Many hope this landmark move will increase diversity at the university.

The new president is Dr. Michael Drake, who most recently was chancellor at the University of California, Irvine. Drake, 63, was with the University of California, Irvine, since 2005, and is a medical doctor. He is a member of both the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He will take over as OSU’s 15th president beginning on June 30.

According the Gary D. Lewis, Jr., senior director of media and public relations at the University, the search for the university’s new president “began in July 2013 and ended January 2014.”

Drake was recommended to the Board of Trustees by an 18-member search committee. According to a press statement by university trustee Jeffrey Wadsworth, who chaired the search committee, the search committee focused on finding a “forward-thinking leader who could further the university’s progress in teaching and learning, innovation and research, outreach and engagement and resource stewardship.”

Drake was among five finalists out of 300 candidates.

While a chancellor of UC Irvine, Drake oversaw the creation of the first new public law school in California in more than four decades, and launched various programs in public health, pharmaceutical sciences and nursing science. The UC Irvine School of Education also was created during his tenure.

When he takes over at Ohio State, he will be responsible for guiding the school’s ongoing $2.5 billion initiative, “But for Ohio State Campaign,” which among other things, provides scholarships and financial aid. Drake’s medical background will also help him manage OSU’s $1 billion cancer hospital, which is under construction.

According to the terms of his five-year contract, Drake will earn $1 million a year. He will get a base salary of $800,000 annually and $200,000 annually in deferred compensation. Drake will also be eligible for an annual performance bonus of $200,000 each year if he reaches performance targets and goals.

Ohio State has more than 63,000 students.