University Archives

Michael V. Drake, MD

President Michael Drake, undated

15th president (June 30, 2014 - June 30, 2020)
Born July 9, 1950

Dr. Michael V. Drake’s extensive service in higher education includes senior leadership roles at universities and national organizations dedicated to advancing learning and discovery. He became the 15th president of The Ohio State University on June 30, 2014, and served in the role through June 30, 2020.

During his tenure, Ohio State saw record highs in applications, graduation rates, academic excellence, diversity and donor support. In 2019, the university broke records for overall research productivity, with $929 million in expenditures and $158 million in industry-sponsored research. The university also received national recognition for its commitment to teaching and learning as well as all-time highs in patient satisfaction, patient volume and clinical outcomes at its academic medical center.

The Time and Change strategic plan, launched in August 2017, aspired to further strengthen Ohio State’s position as a national flagship public research university by driving progress in five broad areas: 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 in 2015 to identify $400 million by 2020 to lower costs and improve value for students and families. By March 2020, the university had more than tripled its target — generating $1.3 billion through operational efficiencies and innovative funding strategies.

The university also committed $200 million in additional need-based aid to students and families between 2015 and 2020, doubling its stated goal of reaching $100 million during this period. 

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. At the close of Dr. Drake’s tenure, the President’s Affordability Grant Program supported more than 15,000 middle- and lower-income students on all Ohio State campuses. By 2020, more than 40,000 Buckeyes and their families 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, and housing and dining costs 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.

Also, in 2017, Ohio State announced a collaboration with Apple to create a comprehensive learning initiative to support educational innovation and economic development. Digital Flagship provides new learning technology, enables novel approaches to teaching and creates 21st-century learning opportunities across Ohio State’s campuses and throughout the communities it serves.

From July 2005 to June 2014, Dr. Drake served as chancellor of the University of California, Irvine. He was also 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 his role as chancellor of UC Irvine, Dr. Drake served for five years as vice president for health affairs for the University of California system, where he oversaw 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 four honorary degrees. He is an elected member of both the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and 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 was awarded the University of California Presidential Medal, in recognition of his exemplary career of service to the university at multiple venues. In 2017, he and his wife, Brenda, were awarded the 10th Annual King Arts Legends & Legacies Award as well as the University of California-Irvine Medal, joining past honorees ranging from U.S. presidents to Ella Fitzgerald.

Dr. Drake is currently chair of the board of the Commonwealth Fund and a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Board of Directors. He formerly served as chair of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Board of Governors, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC). He was also a trustee and national president of the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society.

He held additional leadership roles for the American Talent Initiative and University Innovation Alliance — national collaborations dedicated to advancing college access and success among socioeconomically and racially diverse students.

Dr. Drake and Brenda, an attorney and former nonprofit executive, have two grown sons and four grandchildren.

Updated June 2020