SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — University of California has a new man in charge and he’s making history. Dr. Michael Drake has become the first Black president in the university’s 152-year history.
It was only four weeks ago, Dr. Drake retired as the President of The Ohio State University.
Now he will oversee UC Berkeley and nine other campuses during a time of social unrest, a pandemic and deep budget cuts.
The UC Board of Regents voted unanimously to hire Dr. Drake as the next President. The selection committee says he was the perfect candidate to take over for outgoing President Janet Napolitano.
“The year 2020 has been a tough year for us. Dr. Drake becoming a president shows good things are still possible this year,” said Chair and UC Regent John Perez.
It’s a homecoming for the 69-year-old, who attended Stanford University and UC San Francisco, where he taught for two decades. He also served as the Chancellor at UC Irvine.
“One of the things that was important to us was somebody that was ready on day one. And Michael brings that familiarity with UC and UC Health,” says UC Regent Sherry Lansing.
Drake takes over as the State has slashed more than $470 million from UC’s budget and campuses are moving towards online instruction in the Fall.
”UC is among the best equipped universities worldwide has to be fully engaged in finding solutions,” said Dr. Drake.
Some students hope despite financial obstacles, Dr. Drake will lead the way in fighting social injustice. Nadim Houssain just graduated from the UC Berkeley School of Law.
“I think the UC system has made progress reaching out to communities of color but finding the support systems those students need to succeed in college,” says Houssain.
Dr. Drake is expected to take over the UC system next month