Michael V. Drake, Ph.D.

President, University of California

In August 2020, Michael V. Drake, M.D., became the 21st president of the University of California’s system of 10 campuses, six academic health centers, three affiliated national laboratories, more than 290,000 students and 230,000 faculty and staff. President Drake also holds faculty appointments at the UCSF School of Medicine as a professor of ophthalmology and at the UC Riverside School of Medicine as a professor of medicine.

President Drake served as the 15th president of The Ohio State University (OSU) from 2014 through June 2020. Prior to his six years at OSU, his entire academic career had been at the University of California, including nine years as chancellor of UC Irvine (2005–2014) and five years as UC systemwide vice president for health affairs (2000–2005).

President Drake received his A.B. from Stanford University and his M.D. and residency training from UCSF. He subsequently spent more than 25 years on the faculty of the UCSF School of Medicine, ultimately as the Steven P. Shearing Professor of Ophthalmology and senior associate dean.

During more than two decades of national leadership in higher education, Dr. Drake has served as president of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and has chaired the boards of the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He currently serves as Chair of the Board of the Commonwealth Fund, a century-old organization that works to achieve a health care system with better access, improved quality and greater efficiency for the benefit of society’s most vulnerable populations.

>President Drake has published numerous articles and co-authored six books. He has received dozens of awards for teaching, public service, mentoring and research, as well as five honorary degrees. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Under President Drake’s leadership, the University of California has expanded its strong commitment to access, affordability and academic excellence, all while weathering the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to this global crisis, President Drake instituted critical public health protections for UC students, staff and faculty, including strong mask and vaccine mandates, which kept infection and fatality rates across the UC system dramatically lower than in surrounding communities.

During this period, the university also continued to grow its enrollment, increase student diversity, and enhance student support and affordability. In July 2021, the president proposed, and the UC Board of Regents approved, a multiyear Tuition Stability Plan that helps students and families budget for a UC education by keeping tuition stable and predictable and providing new financial aid resources. In early 2022, President Drake also committed to creating a path to a debt-free UC education for students by significantly expanding need-based financial aid offerings. This included the launch in spring 2022 of the UC Native American Opportunity Plan, which ensures that in-state systemwide tuition and student services fees are fully covered for California students who are enrolled in federally recognized Native American, American Indian, and Alaska Native tribes. At the same time, the university admitted a record number of California first-year students for the fall of 2022, with an increase in the number of underrepresented students.

Under President Drake’s leadership, the university also achieved greater state funding stability. A five-year funding compact established with California Gov. Gavin Newsom will enable the university to make critical long-term investments in its students, faculty, research and infrastructure. The 2022-23 state budget included $185 million to advance UC’s impactful work in addressing the global challenges of climate change — a top priority for the president and the university.

President Drake has been a strong advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging efforts at the university. In particular, he championed an effort to reimagine campus safety and policing at the University of California, leading to a clear set of guiding principles including community and service-driven safety, holistic and inclusive response models, improved data collection and transparency, and clear accountability and independent oversight.

President Drake’s interests outside higher education and health sciences include art and music. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Broad Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Brenda. They have two adult sons and four grandchildren.