The University of California (UC) announced Michael V. Drake as the new president of the university system in a meeting on Tuesday.
The UC Board of Regents unanimously voted and welcomed Drake as UC’s first black president and president of color in the university system’s 152-year history.
“Much has changed in the 15 years since I was given the privilege of becoming chancellor at UC Irvine, but not my absolute belief in this great University and its time-honored mission,” Drake said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the regents, chancellors, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and our broader community as we, together, guide the University through the challenging times ahead.”
Drake will succeed Janet Napolitano, who became UC’s first female president in 2013.
Drake has over 30 years of service with the UC and has experience as a faculty member, health administrator, and as UC Irvine’s fifth chancellor, according to a news release from the University of California Office of the External Vice President.
Drake also served as the president of Ohio State University and chair of the board of directors for both the Association of American Universities and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the release says.
“Given the ongoing epidemics of Covid-19, unaffordability, and racial injustice in our state, students have high expectations for President Drake to chart a future rooted in social, economic, and racial justice,” UCLA’s Undergraduate Student Association Council External Vice President Aidan Arasasingham said in a statement.
“I look forward to working closely with President Drake to make that future a reality for UC,” Arasasingham added.
The UC system has more than 285,000 students, 227,000 faculty and staff across 10 campuses, 5 medical centers, 3 affiliated national laboratories, and a statewide agriculture and natural resources program.
CNN Wire contributed to this report.