Michael V. Drake, a global champion for equity and access was selected as the new president of the University of California and the first Black president in the system’s 152-year history.
Drake was selected on Tuesday unanimously by the UC Board of Regents, seizing a first-time opportunity to select a person of colour to lead the system. The system’s 285,000 students are majority nonwhite. The decision comes amid national tensions and protests for racial justice. Janet Napolitano will step down on Aug. 1st after seven years.
Drake to tackle climate change among other problems
After a brief speech, Drake thanked his supporters, and expressed enthusiasm in returning to his “US family.” He said he looked forward to working with colleagues at UC and working together on major challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and “the yawning wounds of social injustice.”
“I am excited and ready to go,” Drake said.
Drake, who will turn 70 on Thursday, would bring high academic credentials, leadership, political sharpness, and great personal qualities at a tough time for the UC system.
In the near future, Drake will oversee the United States most complex public research university system . The research university system is a $39.8-billion operation with five medical centers, 10 campuses, and three national laboratories. They are looking to confront the global pandemic, defund UC police, further diversify campuses, and tackle financial uncertainty. Also Read– First Black Man in US History to Lead Military Service
“Michael Drake is a spectacular choice for the University of California,” said Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, which represents more than 1,700 colleges and universities. “He has proven himself to be a visionary and effective leader in every role he’s taken on, from the University of California to Ohio State to national roles in leading associations, including the NCAA.”
Drake more experienced than former UC President
Contrasting to Napolitano, who started at UC with no academic leadership experience, Drake has spent more than four decades in the California university system.
“Michael is as poised as anyone can be to be successful,” said George Blumenthal, a former UC Santa Cruz chancellor who now leads the UC Berkeley Center for Studies in Higher Education. “He’s been around the block. He knows higher education well and the UC system well.”