President Michael V. Drake standing in his office at Ohio State.

Former President Michael V. Drake standing in his office at Ohio State. Credit: Amal Saeed | Former Photo Editor

Former University President Michael V. Drake is expected to return to the University of California as its 21st president — pending the Board of Regents’ approval — one week after leaving his six-year tenure at Ohio State.

Drake, who was slated to serve as president emeritus and receive his base salary of $891,946.20 for one year in the role, will be the system of 10 college’s first Black president, according to a Tuesday press release from UC’s Student Association President Varsh Sarveshwar.

“As President, Dr. Drake will confront UC’s long-standing challenges — including state disinvestment, housing and food insecurity, and a systemic inability to recruit and retain underrepresented students of color — amid a racist political climate, an economic downtown, and a global pandemic,” she said.

Drake will receive an annual base salary of $890,000, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he will take a voluntary, temporary reduction of 10 percent of his base salary through June 30, 2021, according to the action item submitted for the Board of Regents’ approval. In 2018, Drake earned nearly $1.2 million from Ohio State, according to the university salary database.

From July 2005 to June 2014, Drake served as chancellor of the University of California, Irvine. Drake became Ohio State’s 15th president June 30, 2014.

Ohio State did not immediately respond to request for comment.

If Drake were to stay at Ohio State past July 1, 2021, he would have served as a tenured distinguished professor in the Colleges of Medicine and Health and Human Ecology, according to his amended contract approved by the Board of Trustees in February. He could have earned up to $1.8 million in this position through June 30, 2024.

In total, the amendment to Drake’s contract would have paid up to $3.3 million — excluding benefits — from when he left office June 30, 2020, until June 30, 2024.

Kristina M. Johnson will assume Ohio State’s presidency Sept. 1.