Michael Drake, chancellor of UC Irvine, has announced that he will become president of Ohio State University, effective June 30. Drake will be the first African American president of the university.
“There is no more impactful university in the United States and in many ways in the world,” Drake said. “It is the center of the country, in many ways kind of at the heart of the country. The chance to be associated with such an institution is something that is just a wonderful opportunity.”
Drake assumed UCI’s chancellorship on July 1, 2005. During his tenure, UC Irvine added a new law school in 2006, which was the first public law school opened in California in 40 years, and a school of education in 2012. UC Irvine also revamped its medical program, where, prior to Drake’s ascension, failures in the liver transplant program led to 30 patient deaths.
Drake’s tenure was also marked by controversy. Drake hired constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky from Duke University to be the inaugural dean of UCI’s law school, but fired him a week later, allegedly due to pressure from Orange County’s conservative community. Drake later rehired Chemerinsky.
He was also chancellor when a group of students, known as the Irvine 11, disrupted Israeli ambassador Michael Oren as he gave a talk on United States-Israeli relations. Ten of the Irvine 11 were later convicted of conspiring to disrupt the speech and sentenced to three years of probation.
UC Irvine Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Howard Gillman will be appointed interim chancellor while a committee searches for a permanent replacement.