The University of California (UC) has announced that Michael V. Drake has been unanimously voted by the UC Board of Regents as the new president of the university system, which includes 10 campuses, 280,000 students and 230,000 faculty and staff members. He’s the first Black president and president of color in the institution’s 152-year history.
“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 in a news release from the University of California Office of the External Vice President on July 7. “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.”
The UC Newsroom took to Twitter to announce the milestone:
This just in: The University of California Board of Regents have announced the appointment of Michael V. Drake, M.D., as the 21st president of UC’s world-renowned system. Learn more: https://t.co/nXBvubvmuD pic.twitter.com/kSitXXBrkF
— UC Newsroom (@UC_Newsroom) July 8, 2020
Drake, 69, will succeed Janet Napolitano, who became UC’s first female president in 2013.
“Stepping down as president of the University of California is bittersweet, especially after seven wonderful, dynamic years, but I depart knowing Dr. Michael Drake will lead with experience and integrity, with the critical support and guidance of the UC Board of Regents,” Napolitano said in the UC’s statement. “Michael has my full confidence, and I am excited to see how his fresh infusion of ideas and new perspectives will shape the University in the months and years ahead.”
Drake, who was educated at Stanford and UC San Francisco, has over 30 years of service to the UC, where he has been a faculty member, health administrator and UC Irvine’s fifth chancellor. He also served as the president of The Ohio State University and chair of the board of directors for the Association of American Universities and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
He is credited for enhancing UC Irvine’s reputation while there; during his tenure, the four-year graduation rate increased while undergraduate enrollment and diversity increased. Additionally, new schools of law and education and programs for public health, nursing and pharmacy were established. He also worked to guarantee tuition, enhance scholarships and increase grants to support middle- and lower-income students.
After the UC Newsroom shared the news on Twitter, many people expressed their satisfaction and support, with some hoping the new president will pave the way for more racial diversity at the school.