New OSU President Talks About His New Job


UPDATED: Thursday January 30, 2014 11:59 PM

An exuberant welcome to OSU for its 15th president, Dr. Michael Drake on Thursday afternoon.

"He's a very distinguished scholar.  He's a very distinguished academician.  He's held a series of very powerful positions,"  said search committee chair Jeffrey Wadsworth.

Currently the chancellor of UC-Irvine, Drake's an ophthalmologist.  He turned the university's medical department around and started a law school.  He admits this is an excellent career opportunity.

"You're always building toward something, working toward something and this had the ring, when I got that first phone call, of being that something,"  said Drake.

Ohio has a personal connection for Drake.  His late mother was from Youngstown.

"Ohio was where home and family were for her and we came to visit as a child so coming back is quite touching and quite special," said Drake.

And Drake says he didn't make the decision alone.  Before he was announced, the trustees talked about his wife, Brenda, also being an asset.  She's an attorney who's been very involved at UC-Irvine.

"That she was welcomed and appreciated by the board were I would say very important to us, but let me say it's more than that, that those were crucial for us to be able to move," said Drake.

He listed affordable and increased access to education and healthcare and health sciences as areas he plans to focus on but also getting to know the students.  He and his wife often host dinners.

"We want to meet what I call normal students," said Drake.

Of course, sports came up.  Drake is a member of the NCAA board of directors.  He also acknowledged that he knew all about the rivalry with that dreaded school up north but wouldn't utter it.

"I think I do but I can't make myself say it," said Drake.

The terms of the contract are still being worked out so Drake wouldn't say how long he's committed to OSU.

"I will stay as long as I am loved and we are having a great time," said Drake.

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