UPDATE: UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake to Step Down in June to Become Ohio State President

[UPDATE: Jan. 30, 2014 1:52 p.m.]: Check page two for official statement from the University of California System President Janet Napolitano and a comment by ASUCI President Nicole Hisatomi. Original post, UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake To Be New Ohio St. University President: Reports, as follows.

According to reports last night by The Columbus Dispatch and Ohio State University's student newspaper, The Lantern, UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake will be leaving Orange County to become the next president of Ohio State University.

His hiring is expected to be announced during the OSU Board of Trustee's meeting on Thursday, where it will most likely be approved, according to The Dispatch. Drake would start the job in June.


This will be his first professional foray away from the Best Coast. Drake graduated from Stanford after starting school at Sacramento City College. He received his medical degree from UCSF and began teaching there in the 1970s, eventually climbing his way through the UC system to his current position as the highest-ranked administrator at UCI.

During his soft-spoken tenure, Irvine has blossomed, adding a law school, education school, and improving the medical center.

Why is Drake leaving the land of burritos, beaches, and beer (not to mention the 14th-ranked public university in the country) for Ohio, the state so bad that it's produced the most people who want to launch themselves into space in the country? Well, in 2012 Drake made just over $400,000. OSU President E. Gordon Gee? $984,616.42.

Also, there's the fact that OSU has twice the amount of students, an actual athletics program, and a 10-time larger endowment.

Talk about competition.


Following the meeting today where the OSU Board of Trustees confirmed the hiring of Chancellor Drake as OSU's next president, the office of University of California System President Janet Napolitano released the following statement:

Michael Drake has informed me that he intends to step down as chancellor at the University of California, Irvine, effective June 30, 2014, to become president of the Ohio State University.

I am grateful to Chancellor Drake for his more than 30 years of service to the University of California, as a faculty member, a health administrator and, finally, as UC Irvine's fifth Chancellor.

Since Chancellor Drake's appointment in 2005, the campus has launched new programs in public health, nursing and pharmaceutical sciences. Under his leadership, the UC Irvine School of Education was created in 2012. During his tenure, Chancellor Drake also oversaw the opening of the first public law school established in California in 40 years.

Indeed, Chancellor Drake's dedicated and passionate leadership has positioned UC Irvine for a bright future as a world-class research university. I personally will miss his wise counsel and camaraderie.

In the coming weeks, I intend to convene a committee to conduct a national search to find a new Chancellor for this remarkable campus, which deserves and demands the best leadership possible.

In the meantime, and pending approval of the regents, I am appointing UC Irvine Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Howard Gillman to serve as interim chancellor. I do so with the greatest confidence in his capabilities.

In closing, please allow me to congratulate Michael on his new position and wish him and his wife, Brenda, all the best.

Reached for comment, ASUCI President Nicole Hisatomi said:

…I wish him the best of luck. He should remember that no matter the University, the students' voice should always be heard and taken seriously. Although this potential move will be an abrupt and surprising change to our campus, we now have the opportunity to find a candidate who can take UC Irvine to new levels and an individual who will listen seriously to student concerns by taking a less distant role between themselves and students.

And official statement from Chancellor Drake:

The 2013-2014 academic year will be my ninth and final year as chancellor of our campus. After our graduation ceremonies this spring I will retire from the University of California. Brenda and I will move to Columbus, Ohio, where I will become president of The Ohio State University.

My career at the University of California has spanned the entirety of my adult life, from future focused days of medical school and residency, to this, my thirty-fifth year as a faculty member. I have enjoyed privileges and experiences that exceeded my imagination. My various roles as a student, physician, researcher, teacher, administrative leader, colleague, mentor and friend have been enriched beyond measure by my association with the people who make this community among the most vibrant and uplifting on earth.

Our decision to transition is made with decidedly mixed emotions. The opportunity to begin a new adventure at The Ohio State University is compelling and unique, but the requirement that we leave home and family to do so is formidable. Brenda and I are proud of the tremendous progress our campus has made, even as we all endured the hardships of the recession. As a community we emerged from that difficult period stronger and more creative than ever because of the collective efforts of the individuals that comprise the Anteater family.

We have enjoyed close professional relationships with students, faculty, staff, members of the philanthropic community, political leaders, and the citizenry of Irvine and Orange County. We have developed lasting friendships with members of each of those groups.

Throughout the winter and spring we will continue to work diligently on our university's growth and advancement as we prepare to bid farewell in June. We will do so taking comfort in the knowledge that the extraordinary talents of the campus community and the excellence and commitment of our leaders will continue to propel the University of California, Irvine forward through its second half century and beyond.

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