July 7, 2020

Michael Drake appointed UC president

Today the board of regents announced that Michael V. Drake, M.D, will be the next president of the University of California. You can read our press release here.

The regents could not have made a finer choice. As many of you will remember, Michael was my predecessor as chancellor here at UCI, serving from 2005 to 2014. He was also a Distinguished Professor of ophthalmology and Distinguished Professor of education. During this time, UCI became recognized nationally for advancing social justice through education and exemplifying environmental stewardship and institutional sustainability. Prior to coming to UCI, Michael served for five years as vice president of health affairs for the University of California, 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. Upon leaving UCI, he was president of The Ohio State University until his retirement last month. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts & Letters, among other honors.

Under Michael’s guidance, UCI grew from a regional university to one of global prominence – all while remaining true to our mission of serving the people of California. The number of undergraduate applicants nearly doubled and the four-year graduation rate increased by more than 18 percent. Also during this period, the university added schools of law and education and programs in public health, pharmaceutical sciences and nursing science, all of which have had far-reaching impacts in the community. At the UCI Medical Center in Orange, he spearheaded the construction of Douglas Hospital, the centerpiece of UCI Health’s clinical care.

During Michael’s tenure, UCI rose from the mid-teens to one of the top 10 national public universities in U.S. News & World Report‘s annual rankings. In addition to claiming the top spot on Sierra magazine’s list of the “Coolest Schools” for improving energy efficiency and sustainability, UCI was ranked by Times Higher Education in 2012 and again in 2013 as the No. 1 university in the U.S. – and the fifth worldwide – under 50 years old.

I first met Michael when he recruited me to join UCI in 2013 as provost and executive vice chancellor, but I was already very aware of his transformative leadership. It is no exaggeration to say that a major reason I was drawn to UCI was the opportunity to work with Michael. He was an outstanding mentor and colleague, and I am delighted that once again we will work together to advance the University of California’s noble mission and serve the people of this great state.

It is with the greatest pleasure that I welcome Michael and Brenda Drake home to the University of California.

Fiat Lux.

Chancellor Howard Gillman