15th president (June 30, 2014 - present)
b. July 9, 1950
Dr. Michael V. Drake’s service in higher education spans nearly four decades and includes senior leadership roles at universities and national organizations dedicated to advancing education. He became the 15th president of The Ohio State University on June 30, 2014.
During his tenure, Ohio State has seen record highs in applications, graduation rates, academic excellence, sponsored research, diversity and donor support. The university also has received national recognition for its commitment to teaching and learning as well as excellence in patient safety and clinical outcomes at the university’s Wexner Medical Center.
The Time and Change strategic plan, launched in August 2017, aspires to further strengthen Ohio State’s position as a national flagship public research university, setting forth five areas of broad focus: teaching and learning; access, affordability and excellence; research and creative expression; academic health care; and operational excellence and resource stewardship.
To support greater access to an affordable and excellent Ohio State education, Dr. Drake directed the university to identify $400 million by 2020 to lower costs and improve value for students and families. Since FY 2015, the university has generated more than $1.3 billion through operational efficiencies and innovative funding strategies.
The university has committed more $200 million in additional need-based aid to students and families since 2015, well exceeding its stated goal of reaching $100 million by 2020.
The Buckeye Opportunity Program, which began in Columbus in fall 2018 and expanded to regional campuses in spring 2019, ensures that Ohio students who qualify for Pell Grants receive an aid package that covers the full cost of tuition and mandatory fees. The President’s Affordability Grant Program supports more than 15,000 middle- and lower-income students on all Ohio State campuses. Thus far, more than 40,000 Buckeyes and their families have benefited from new or expanded affordability programs since 2015.
In 2017, Dr. Drake led the establishment of the Ohio State Tuition Guarantee — freezing tuition, mandatory fees, housing and dining for four years for incoming, in-state freshmen. He also increased the value of Ohio State Land Grant Opportunity Scholarships to cover the full cost of attendance while doubling the size of the program in 2018.
In October 2017, Ohio State announced a collaboration with Apple to create a comprehensive learning initiative to support educational innovation and economic development opportunities. The Digital Flagship is a major strategic plan initiative, with particular focus on teaching, learning, research and creative expression.
From July 2005 to June 2014, Dr. Drake served as chancellor of the University of California, Irvine. He also served as a Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology (School of Medicine) and Education (School of Education). During this time, UC Irvine became recognized nationally for advancing social justice through education and exemplifying environmental stewardship and institutional sustainability.
Prior to serving as UC Irvine chancellor, Dr. Drake served for five years as vice president for health affairs for the University of California system, overseeing academic program policy at the system’s 15 health sciences schools, located on seven campuses. He also spent more than two decades on the faculty of the UC San Francisco School of Medicine, ultimately becoming the Steven P. Shearing Professor of Ophthalmology and senior associate dean.
Dr. Drake is an alumnus of Stanford University (BA) and UC San Francisco (MD), and holds three honorary degrees. He is an elected member of both the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He has received numerous honors and awards for teaching, public service and research, including the Burbridge Award for Public Service, the Asbury Award (clinical science) and the Michael J. Hogan Award (laboratory science).
In 2014, he became the 27th person to be awarded the University of California Presidential Medal, in recognition of his exemplary career of service to the university. In 2017, he and his wife, Brenda, were awarded the 10th Annual King Arts Legends and Legacies Award as well as the University of California-Irvine Medal, joining past honorees ranging from U.S. presidents to Ella Fitzgerald.
In addition, Dr. Drake has served as trustee and national president of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and as chair of the board of trustees of the Association of Academic Health Centers. He is chair of the NCAA Board of Governors, past chair of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Universities and vice chair of the Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents/Chancellors.
He holds additional leadership roles for the American Talent Initiative and University Innovation Alliance.
In 2015, Dr. Drake was appointed to the board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. He has had a lifelong interest in music (notably rock and jazz), plays guitar and teaches an undergraduate course on the music of the civil rights movement.
A New York City native, Dr. Drake has always maintained a fondness for Ohio, as his mother grew up and graduated from high school in Youngstown. He and Brenda have two grown sons and four grandchildren.
Updated February 2020