About the Chancellor

Chancellor Michael Drake Biography

Michael V. Drake, M.D., was appointed the fifth chancellor of the University of California, Irvine in July 2005.  He also serves as Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology (School of Medicine) and Education (School of Education).

Since his appointment, the number of applicants for undergraduate admission has increased by more than 90 percent; in the 2013 admission cycle 82,450 applications were received for just 6,000 openings.  The university’s four-year graduation rate has increased by more than 19 percent.  Chancellor Drake has been a steadfast champion of inclusion and diversity.  The number of undergraduate students from underrepresented minorities has risen by 59.1 percent in the past five years.  Sixty percent of the entering freshmen in the Class of 2017 were the first in their families to attend a four-year college, and 40 percent came from low-income families; both percentages are among the highest in the nation  

Chancellor Drake has made the promulgation of values a hallmark of the UC Irvine experience.  The seven campus values that he suggested at the time of his appointment – respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment, empathy, appreciation, and fun – have become essential parts of fostering the creative process, building stronger bonds between people, and inspiring a shared sense of purpose among faculty, staff, and students.  Each spring the “Living Our Values” awards are presented to members of the UC Irvine community who have demonstrated values-based decision-making in particularly challenging or difficult circumstances.

Chancellor Drake has led the launch of new programs in public health, pharmaceutical sciences, and nursing science, which are already providing highly trained healthcare professionals to meet the critical needs of the community.  In 2006 he oversaw the creation of the first new public law school in California in more than 40 years.  Most recently, the UC Irvine School of Education was established in July 2012. 

Under his leadership, the campus has added more than 5 million square feet of new space, including the 500,000-square-foot UC Irvine Douglas Hospital and the 275,000-square-foot Student Center, two of the more than 30 major construction projects delivered on time and under budget.  The campus’s built environment has received nationwide acclaim for its environmental sustainability and is among the nation’s leaders with 11 buildings that have earned LEED Platinum status, the highest possible ranking.

The University of California, Irvine was recognized in 2012 and again in 2013 as the leading university in the United States – and in the top five worldwide – under 50 years of age.  It is the youngest member of the Association of American Universities.

Prior to Chancellor Drake’s arrival at UC Irvine, he served for five years as vice president for health affairs for the University of California system, overseeing academic program policy at UC’s 15 health sciences schools, located on seven campuses.  He directed the special research programs in tobacco, breast cancer, and HIV/AIDS; co-chaired the California/Mexico Health Initiative; launched the PRIME (PRogram In Medical Education) initiative to train physicians to care for underserved populations statewide; and founded the California Health Benefits Review Program.  

Before that, he 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.  He has served as an administrative leader, teacher, and physician-scientist, conducting clinical research on glaucoma and maintaining an active referral practice.  He has written scores of scholarly articles and chapters, and his fifth textbook was published in 2009.

An alumnus of Stanford University (A.B.) and UC San Francisco (M.D.), Chancellor Drake is a fellow of the Institute of Medicine (National Academies) 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), the Michael J. Hogan Award (laboratory science), the UCSF School of Medicine Clinical Teaching Award, the S.J. Kimura Teaching Award, the UCSF School of Medicine Alumnus of the Year Award, and the Gold-Headed Cane Society Speaker’s Cane.  

In addition, he received the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Herbert W. Nickens Award for promoting social justice and the California Wellness Foundation’s Champion of Diversity Award.  He was awarded the inaugural Binational Health Pioneer Award at the 18th International HIV/AIDS Conference.  He was inducted into Stanford University’s Multicultural Hall of Fame in 2009.

Chancellor Drake has served as trustee and 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 currently serves on the executive committee and the Division I board of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and on the executive and membership committees of the Association of American Universities.

Chancellor Drake and his wife, Brenda, live in Irvine.  They have two grown sons and two grandchildren.