While Drake has yet to be introduced to the university community – that will come this afternoon, it appears – it's not too early to attempt to figure out what OSU's first black president will bring to the table.
What are his qualifications?
Born in New York City, Drake grew up in Englewood, N.J. before moving to Sacramento, Calif. He attended both Stanford (A.B.) and the University of California at San Francisco (M.D.).
He later joined the UCSF faculty after graduation, rising through the ranks to become professor of ophthalmology. In 1991, Drake assumed the post of assistant dean for student affairs at UCSF, later becoming the school's associate dean for admissions and student programs.
From 1998 to 2000, he served as both the Stephen P. Shearing Professor and vice chair of the department of ophthalmology, and senior associate dean for admissions and extramural academic programs in the UCSF School of Medicine.
In March 2000, Drake was appointed University of California vice president for health affairs in the Office of the President. As systemwide vice president, he oversaw education and research activities at UC's 15 health sciences schools (medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, public health, optometry, veterinary medicine) among seven campuses.
He became the president at UC Irvine in July 2005, and per his medical roots, he helped lead the launch of new programs in public health, pharmaceutical sciences, and nursing science, which should be keys given Ohio State's recent billion-dollar commitment to the overhaul of the school's Wexner Medical Center. Drake also has overseen the creation of a new law school and the establishment of UCI's School of Education, impressive accomplishments to say the least.
Under his leadership, the campus has added more than 5 million square feet of new space, including the 500,000-square-foot UC Irvine Douglas Hospital and the 275,000-square-foot Student Center, both delivered on time and under budget. The UCI campus received nearly 70,000 undergraduate applications for admission in fall 2012.
Drake has received numerous honors and awards for teaching, public service, and research, including the Burbridge Award for Public Service, the Asbury Award (clinical science), the Michael J. Hogan Award (laboratory science), the UCSF School of Medicine Clinical Teaching Award, the S.J. Kimura Teaching Award, the UCSF School of Medicine Alumnus of the Year Award, and the Gold-Headed Cane Society Speaker's Cane. In addition, he received the Association of American Medical Colleges' Herbert W. Nickens Award and the California Wellness Foundation's Champion of Diversity Award.
Most recently, he was awarded the inaugural Binational Health Pioneer Award at the 18th International HIV/AIDS Conference. He has served as trustee and president of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and as chair of the board of trustees of the Association of Academic Health Centers. He is a fellow of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
What are his thoughts on athletics?
In December 2012, Drake was chosen to serve on the NCAA Division I board of directors, an 18-member board of presidents and chancellors that helps direct policy, showing just how well respected he is at the national level, especially as the NCAA goes about figuring out major changes that will affect its composition going forward.
Anteater sports seem to have thrived under his leadership, including winning the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy competition, which recognizes postseason athletic achievement among the nation's 95 Division I non-football schools, in 2007. The Anteaters were second in the standings after the 2011-12 athletics year as well for the third time in Drake's tenure.
The men's volleyball program won the NCAA national title in 2013, its fourth trophy in seven years as it also won in 2007, '09 and '12. Last year, its women's tennis team captured the DI-AAA trophy after winning every home match, making the second round of the NCAA tournament and sending Kristina Smith – winner of the Arthur Ashe Award – to the NCAA singles tournament. Drake also seems engaged with athletics; his Twitter feed includes numerous messages about UCI sports.
Personally, he's an avid cyclist who helped raise more than $20,000 for a recent charity bike tour event.
He'll now inherit one of the biggest and most influential athletics departments in the nation as well as a director of athletics in Gene Smith who this week was given a promotion and contract extension.
Can he tie a bow tie?
After all, what could be more important after Gee, the noted king of bow ties?
BSB will be at Drake's press conference this afternoon and have a full report.