Ohio State University trustees picked a California educator as the school's next president Thursday, ending a search that began with the former president's retirement following remarks critical of Roman Catholics and Southeastern Conference schools. Trustees voted unanimously in favor of University of California, Irvine chancellor Michael Drake to become the 15th president of Ohio State.
"Dr. Drake was the strongest and the consensus candidate," said Jeffrey Wadsworth, an Ohio State University trustee who led the search.
Drake is an ophthalmology professor who also is a published textbook author. In 2005 he was named the fifth chancellor of UC Irvine, where he also served as a professor. Drake said he was humbled by the opportunity and looking forward to working at Ohio State. He said the university is "in many ways the premier position in higher education in the United States today." "The trajectory and power of Ohio State are known throughout the world," Drake said.
Under his tenure, undergraduate applications at Irvine increased more than 90 percent and the four-year graduation rate rose by nearly 20 percent. In 2006, Drake oversaw the creation of the first new public law school in California in more than 40 years. He also launched new programs in public health, pharmaceutical sciences and nursing science tailored to meet the community's hiring needs.