Botwc Firsts

He Just Became The First Black President of the University of California

He Just Became The First Black President of the University of California

Congratulations are in order!

The University of California just named Dr. Michael Drake as president, making him the first Black president in the school’s 150-year history, ABC News reports. 

Drake is a UC trained physician who previously served as chancellor of UC Irvine from 2005 to 2014 where he helped increase undergraduate admission by more than 90% and added law, public health, pharmaceutical science and nursing science programs. From there, he became president at The Ohio State University from 2014 to 2020 where he doubled African American enrollment and increased retention and graduation rates for students. 

As of his new role as president, overseeing the 280,000 student population at UC, Drake said he’s “excited and ready to go.” The UC Board of Regents unanimously approved his appointment, citing his immense contributions as a seasoned university administrator over the span of his career. In addition to leading UC Irvine and The Ohio State University, Drake also served as vice chancellor for health affairs at UC and helped with diversity and inclusion at both UC Irvine and Ohio State, boosting financial aid and making positive changes to the tuition model for Buckeyes. 

“I’m a firm believer in inclusion. It takes all of us to do our best work. [The UC system is] best equipped worldwide [to be] fully engaged in finding solutions [to] the yawning wounds of social injustice that we see in so many ways that really tears at the fabric of our lives,” Drake said. 

The UC San Francisco alum will replace former president Janet Napolitano, who made history as the first woman to head UC. “I recognize the significance of these firsts and while I hope that this kind of leadership diversity at our nation’s universities will soon become commonplace, I am humbled and grateful to have been part of this chapter in UC’s history,” Napolitano said. 

Governor Gavin Newsom spoke about Drake’s appointment saying, “I am confident that Dr. Drake is the leader we need to guide our world-class higher education system through this time of unprecedented challenge.” 

Congratulations Dr. Drake!

Photo Courtesy of The Ohio State University