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UCI Chancellor Leaves, Heads to Ohio State

Michael Drake's been chancellor at UC Irvine since 2005.

Michael Drake is leaving UCI for Ohio State. Photo courtesy of UC Irvine.
Michael Drake is leaving UCI for Ohio State. Photo courtesy of UC Irvine.

The chancellor of UC Irvine is quitting to take the top job at The Ohio State University, UC President Janet Napolitano announced today.

“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,” Napolitano announced in a statement.

“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, Napolitano added.

Drake, 63, will be Ohio State's 15th president, and the university's first black president. The home page has already set up a greeting for him. 

Drake said he made the decision with “decidedly mixed emotions.”

Chancellor since 2005, Drake said, “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.”

Drake's tenure will end June 30.

“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,” Drake said. “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.”

Napolitano appointed UC Irvine Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Howard Gillman to serve as interim chancellor during a national search fo Drake's successor.

“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,” Napolitano said.

During his tenure, Drake, a physician, oversaw the foundation of the UC Irvine Law School, including the firing and subsequent re-hiring of Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding dean of the school, in 2009.

There was also a high-profile prosecution of a group of UCI students -- known as the Irvine 11 -- who protested a speech by an Israeli ambassador to the United States. One student pleaded guilty before trial and later had the charge dismissed when he completed 40 hours of community service.

Ten other students were convicted of misdemeanor charges in September 2011. A panel of Orange County Superior Court judges heard oral arguments on an appeal Dec. 19 and a ruling is pending.

Drake received a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a medical degree from UC San Francisco. He is a board member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the governing body of collegiate sports, and taught a UCI freshman class on the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

--City News Service

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