University of California system names first Black president

Dr. Michael Drake was chosen Tuesday to be president of the University of California, the first Black leader in the system’s 150-year history.

Drake, a seasoned university administrator, replaces Janet Napolitano in overseeing a sprawling, 280,000-student system dealing with issues of accessibility for Blacks and other minorities, along with slashed budgets and upended campus life because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Drake is a UC-trained physician who served as chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, and also led The Ohio State University before retiring from that job last month.

The UC Board of Regents unanimously approved Drake’s appointment.

“I’m excited and ready to go,” Drake told the board, noting the challenging times amid the pandemic, the threat of climate change, and “the yawning wounds of social injustice that we see in so many ways that really tears at the fabric of our lives.”

He noted that the UC system is “best equipped worldwide” to be "fully engaged in finding solutions."

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