UCI’s Unforgettable Chancellor Leaves

With the end of the 2013-14 academic year quickly approaching, it will not be long until UC Irvine’s fifth chancellor, Michael V. Drake, M.D., says farewell to the land of Anteaters and prepares to embark on the next chapter of his life as president of Ohio State University.
Chancellor Drake will be leaving behind nine years of memories at UC Irvine — memories that range from launching new programs in nursing science, public health and pharmaceutical sciences, to teaching students how to tie a bowtie at various campus events. No matter the scale or significance of his memories at UCI, there is no doubt that Chancellor Drake will miss these moments spent with students, faculty, staff, colleagues and the greater Irvine community.
Before beginning his tenure at UCI in 2005, Chancellor Drake spent five years as vice president for health affairs of the UC system, which required him to oversee academic program policy at all 15 of the University of California health sciences schools. Additionally, he directed special research programs in HIV/AIDs, breast cancer and tobacco; founded the California Health Benefits Review Program; and even created an initiative called PRIME, which trains doctors to help and treat people in underserved populations across the state.
Chancellor Drake’s extensive work in the medical field reflects his background and education, as he received his B.A. from Stanford University and M.D. from UC San Francisco. After completing his education, he spent over two decades as a faculty member for the UC San Francisco School of Medicine. He ultimately became the senior associate dean and the Stephen P. Shearing Professor of Ophthalmology. During this time, he served many different roles — teacher, administrative leader and physician-scientist.
This background followed him to his position at UC Irvine, where he has also served as a Distinguished Professor of Education (School of Education) and Ophthalmology (School of Medicine). Chancellor Drake is grateful to continue being in an environment that fosters such research and innovation when he continues on to Ohio State University in the fall.
“Public research universities are very vibrant places and they are places where faculty members do great research, addressing the issues that affect us all,” Drake said.
“They are places where people come at the undergraduate level to sort of build toward their careers, or at the graduate level to train or enable themselves to be real contributing members of society. We have really been privileged to enjoy a life at a major research university and we’re privileged to be able to continue that.”
Although Chancellor Drake will be moving, the seven values of UC Irvine that he suggested when he was appointed chancellor will forever live on. Respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment, empathy, appreciation and fun were the values that Chancellor Drake fostered during his tenure, and the ones that will undoubtedly stick with present, past and incoming Anteaters.
Before Chancellor Drake departs, he hopes to remind students to not take these college years for granted and to fully embrace everything that comes from this educational experience.
“This is an incredible time in life. We have a great campus and a great supportive community — among the best in the world,” Drake said.
“I always advise students just to take sole advantage of the things that are available to them — the campus, the faculty, the staff are there to create a pathway forward for our students, and I just really encourage people to make full use of these years. They are special years and among the most special you’ll have at any time, so just make sure you’re fully engaged and aware and thankful of the things that are available. Get to know professors, as well as classmates and friends, and you’ll find people who’ll be supportive of you forever.”
While Chancellor Drake’s career has brought him to several different locations, UC Irvine will always be a special place he holds near to his heart.
“Many people like myself have the chance to be at different campuses over the years, and different places at different times, and UCI is just a wonderful campus,” Drake said.
“The quality of the faculty, the focus on the students, the opportunities that students have — it’s just a great place and I would just encourage people to be solely aware of the things that are there and take full advantage of those things. And I think that’s something that’s good advice for life broadly — be really involved in your life and take full advantage of it, and you’ll reap the rewards that come from that.”
A special retirement celebration for Chancellor Drake will be held on Thursday, June 12 from 3–5 p.m. in the Student Center’s Pacific Ballroom. Please visit www.mvdrake.uci.edu to RSVP.