University of California Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake was named the 15th OSU president Jan. 30. Credit: Courtesy of Ria Carlson

University of California Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake was named the 15th OSU president Jan. 30.
Credit: Courtesy of Ria Carlson

Ohio State officials announced Thursday Michael Drake as the university’s next president, effective June 30.

“You will see he’s going to make a terrific Buckeye,” said Presidential Search Committee Chairman Jeffrey Wadsworth.

As chancellor of a land grant institution, Drake was a strong candidate to lead a “complex” institution like OSU.

“His qualifications are unquestionable … he’s a serious candidate, a substantive person with strong beliefs,” Wadsworth said.

After the decision was confirmed by the Board of Trustees, Drake was introduced to a crowd at the Longaberger Alumni House, including members of OSU’s Senior Management Council and the media.

“I am deeply honored by your nomination and the confidence you display in me,” Drake said. “I’m truly excited and honored to be here today.”

Drake said the OSU presidency is in many ways the “premier” position in higher education in the U.S.

“Ohio State is bold in its intention to inspire greatness in its faculty, staff and students … I am deeply humbled by this opportunity and looking forward to joining the Buckeye community.”

Drake was appointed chancellor of UC Irvine in 2005. Before his appointment, he served as vice president for health affairs for the University of California system for five years.

UC Irvine has more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, according to UC Irvine 2013 Facts and Figures.

Drake is an alumnus of Stanford University and UC San Francisco and said his mother was raised in Youngstown.

“I think of her at this moment,” he said during his first speech as the 15th OSU president.

Drake is set to be the first black OSU president in the university’s 144-year history. His appointment came roughly seven months after former President E. Gordon Gee retired July 1.

Gee announced his decision to retire from OSU days after controversial comments he made at a Dec. 5, 2012, OSU Athletic Council meeting came under public scrutiny. Remarks about Notre Dame and the Southeastern Conference in particular brought national attention. The former two-time OSU president is currently serving as president at West Virginia University, taking an unpaid leave as president emeritus at OSU.

Interim President Joseph Alutto was recognized and thanked by Chairman of the Board Robert Schottenstein before the announcement. Alutto served as executive vice president and provost prior to his term as interim president.

Student Trustee Ben Reinke said he gave Drake and his wife a tour of campus, and said he “one, genuinely cares about students and two, he has the perfect skill set for this time.”

“If you check YouTube you’ll find he has very strong skills in guitar and bow tying.”