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President Drake highlights achievements in academics and affordability in university address

Ohio State University president Michael V. Drake, M.D. delivers his state of the university address in the Saxbe Auditorium at the Moritz College of Law on Jan. 25. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

In his annual university address Thursday, Ohio State President Michael Drake highlighted academic achievements and increased access to affordability.

Drake reflected on a record-high number of graduating students, a diverse freshman class and online programs garnering national accolades.

“Each of these milestones is really terrific, but taken together, the series of accomplishments reflects the university’s outstanding talent and incredible momentum,” Drake said in his speech at Drinko Hall.

One notable topic missing from his address was access to mental health services for students.

This would include the university’s plan to address the influx of students in need of services over the past two academic years, following reports of a six-week wait for individual counseling sessions and increase in appointments scheduled through Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Services over the past 10 academic years.

Stated in a letter to the editor Wednesday, Javaune Adams-Gaston, the senior vice president of student life, said the health and wellbeing of Ohio State students is a “top priority.” Including access to mental health services, Adams-Gaston noted an increase in clinicians employed by CCS and the addition of two new facilities in Lincoln Tower and the North Residential District.

Drake highlighted how teaching will shift in the upcoming academic year with the new classroom technology from Ohio State’s partnership with Apple. The university will provide each incoming freshman with a free iPad Pro.

The changes to need-based aid for low-income students were also mentioned. The university is expanding its presidential affordability and land-grant programs — tuition assistance provided to in-state students — and paying full tuition for all incoming Ohio freshmen eligible for the Pell Grant.

Drake said these plans reflect the broader goals of Time and Change, a strategic plan introduced this summer to move the university into the 21st century.

“We now have an extraordinary opportunity to build on our recognized strengths while investing strategically in areas that directly address what matters most to the broader community,” Drake said.

Throughout his address, Drake reminded the audience of students, staff and faculty members of Ohio State’s impact on communities outside the university.

“What Ohio State does matters,” he said. “It matters to individuals and families across our state, throughout the nation and around the world.”

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