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The University of California Names its first Black president, Michael V. Drake

JUL 09, 2020 • 3 min read

The University of California system is known for its progress, leadership, and trailblazing efforts in education, research, and higher education in general. Earlier this year, the University of California Board of Regents unanimously agreed to eliminate the SAT and ACT requirement on the UC application. This once-seemingly radical decision was just the beginning of dozens of other colleges and universities that consecutively dropped the requirement as well.

Just this last week, the University of California named its first Black president, Michael V. Drake in the system’s 150-year history. President Drake will be the 21st president of the world-renowned system of 10 campuses, five medical centers, three nationally affiliated labs, more than 280,000 students, and 230,000 faculty and staff. Not only will President Drake take on challenges dealing with COVID-19 and its effects on higher education but the social unrest and changes on UC campuses.

“I’m excited and ready to go,” Drake stated as he noted the issues of racial and environmental justice along with the challenges of the pandemic, “the yawning wounds of social injustice that we see in so many ways that really tears at the fabric of our lives.”

Former UC President, and the first woman to serve as UC President, Janet Napolitano echoed the thoughts of the University of California Board of Regents saying Drake’s assignment is “one more step in our university’s ongoing effort to ensure that the university reflects the rich diversity of our state. It follows other recent decisions by this board to address issues of inequity and systemic racism in our society.”

President Drake is an alumnus of the University of California system and a professionally trained and educated physician. He is also the former chancellor of UC Irvine (2005-2014) and former president of Ohio State University (2014-2020). During his time at OSU, President Drake contributed to the reversal of a 20-year trend of the decreasing enrollment of Black students; the number of Black students admitted to the university doubled between 2014 and 2020. In addition, the school significantly increased retention and graduation rates for all students during this time.

Fun Fact: President Drake is the chair of the board of governors of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and a member of the board of directors of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. How cool is that! A big congratulations to President Drake! We’re looking forward to seeing all of the great changes ahead.

“I’m a firm believer in inclusion. It takes all of us to do our best work. . . a critical part of our moving forward.” - UC President Michael V. Drake

Shannon F.

Written by

Shannon F.

Shannon completed her Bachelors at Franklin University Switzerland where she majored in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies & minored in Social Justice and Sustainability. Shannon has a passion for learning new languages, environmental and social justice, and immersing herself in new cultures. Shannon has worked in higher education and now works as an Education Coordinator with Crimson. Shannon currently lives in Denver, Colorado, and enjoys reading, water polo, yoga, and traveling.