Although he has served as UC Irvine’s chancellor for nine months, Michael Drake was officially inaugurated as UCI’s fifth chancellor on Friday at the Bren Events Center.
Although during Drake’s first months as chancellor UCI has been the subject of much negative publicity because of several scandals at the medical center, this did not seem to dampen the spirits of the 3,000 people who turned out for the event; Drake twice received a standing ovation from the crowd.
The inauguration ceremony featured several members of the UCI community speaking about Drake, as well as a musical performance by the UCI symphony.
John Davies, who was a UC regent from 1992 to 2004 and chairman of the Board of Regents from 1998 to 1999, praised Drake’s courage and sense of humor.
‘He will need that courage and sense of humor and much more, which we know he possesses, to accommodate the interests of all the constituents of the university,’ Davies said.
Carlos Feliciano, president of the Associated Students of UCI, has worked closely with Drake over the past few months. In his speech, he noted that one of the most important values that Drake possesses is the ability to form friendships with students.
Ben Leong, a fourth-year economics major who attended the inauguration, met Drake at the UCDC program a few years ago.
‘It was amazing that he actually took time out to meet us,’ Leong said. ‘I thought it was amazing that he hadn’t even really started here yet and he actually [wanted] to come and meet students.’
Steven Capps, president of the UCI Alumni Association, spoke on behalf of his group, saying that there are ‘90,000 alumni that stand ready to be [Drake’s] fan club.’
Capps described Drake as ‘a man whose vision truly exceeds our eyesight.’
Douglas Freeman, chair for the UCI Foundation, explained that before Drake was appointed chancellor, UC President Robert Dynes asked a number of UCI’s colleagues what they would like in their chancellor.
Their list included intellect, unending curiosity, an ability to challenge and keep up with the fine minds of members of the UCI community, integrity, passion, commitment, humor, humility, reverence, a vision for the future and the realization that UCI is part of a larger community. Drake, according to Freeman, embodied all of these qualities.
Duncan Luce, a distinguished professor emeritus at UCI, acknowledged Drake’s positive qualities.
‘[He has an] enormous flow of ideas, spirit of collaborations, this eternal energy that he exudes,’ Luce said. ‘We know where we’re going. Now we have a leader to help us get there.’
The keynote address was given by United States Surgeon General Vice Admiral Richard Carmona, who has known Drake for 30 years. Carmona described Drake as the ‘ultimate servant of the people.’
‘His vision is crystal clear, and driven by value-based paradigm,’ Carmona said.
The Ceremony of Investiture was performed by Dynes.
‘Michael Drake embodies the distinction of the UC,’ Dynes said. ‘As a UC medical student, UC professor, associate dean and university administrator, he has met the highest standards of scholarship and service.’
All of the speakers believe that under the leadership of Drake, UCI will move forward and provide a better future for students and faculty.
‘UC Berkely and others, watch out, because we’re coming,’ Freeman said.
Drake, 55, was appointed as chancellor of UCI on July 1, 2005. He was born in New York City and later moved to Sacramento. Drake attended Stanford, where he met his wife.
In 1975, Drake attended medical school at UCSF. He then joined the UCSF faculty as a professor of ophthalmology. In 1991, he became Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and then Senior Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Programs at UCSF. In March 2000, he was appointed vice president for health affairs for the UC, and oversaw various research activities and programs. Drake has two sons who attend Stanford and Harvard.
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