COLUMBUS (WCMH/AP) — Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake, has announced he will retire next year.
President Michael Drake’s five-year tenure at one of the nation’s largest universities began in 2014 and has included strategic successes, such as record numbers for the school in applications, graduates, research expenditures and donor support. But it also has been marred by scandals involving the university’s marching band, a prominent football coach and a former team doctor accused of widespread sexual abuse.
The 69-year-old Drake says he wanted to ensure the university had momentum when he decided to leave.
He said the timing is right for the school and his family.
“Ohio State is a very special place. Brenda and I are blessed to be part of the incredible Buckeye community,” said Drake, 69, in a press release. “The work being done at this university through teaching, learning, research, creative expression, community engagement and leading-edge partnerships is unprecedented in our 150-year history.
“Ohio State has enjoyed record successes in several of our most important strategic markers and has tremendous momentum. It was important to Brenda and me that the university be accelerating on a path forward as we decided to begin the transition.”Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake
Board of Trustees Chairman Gary R. Heminger agreed, saying: “The university has never been stronger, and there couldn’t be a better time to position a new leader for success.”
Under Drake’s leadership, the university has seen all-time highs in several important areas, including: applications, the academic preparedness and diversity of five consecutive incoming classes to the Columbus campus, retention rates, research expenditures and industry-sponsored research, graduation rates, total number of graduates, patient care and support from donors, according to a press release from Ohio State.
Ohio State’s performance in these categories is the best in the university’s history and among the strongest in the nation, officials said.
The university will launch a national search for its next president, and trustee Lewis Von Thaer will serve as chair of the search committee.
Drake said he has always envisioned that the university would begin a search while he still served as president in order to provide continuity in leadership.
The trustees are aligned with that position as well. Drake will lead the university through at least the end of the academic year.
Drake will remain on the Ohio State faculty.
Teaching and learning represent pillar one of Ohio State’s strategic plan, launched under Drake’s leadership in August 2017. The University Institute for Teaching and Learning, created to further advance teaching at Ohio State and improve the student experience, is unique nationally for implementing a research-based survey instrument on effective practices across the institution.
Another area of intense focus has been increasing access to an affordable and excellent Ohio State education.
Under Drake, Ohio State implemented its first comprehensive tuition freeze for in-state students in 40 years.
The university also launched the Ohio State Tuition Guarantee, which locks in-state tuition, mandatory fees, housing and dining for each incoming class of undergraduate students.
The university has committed more than $150 million in additional need-based aid since 2015, exceeding its goal to reach $100 million by 2020 and benefiting tens of thousands of Buckeyes. Fewer students are graduating with debt, and those with debt have less of it.
This additional aid has funded several programs designed to make college more affordable for students from low- and moderate-income backgrounds. The Buckeye Opportunity Program, for example, provides full tuition and mandatory fee coverage to thousands of Ohio Pell students in Columbus and at all of the university’s regional locations. The inclusion of regional campuses in the program is notable in higher education for a school of Ohio State’s size.
“We have always said that while talent is distributed across zip codes, opportunity is not,” Drake said. “It is critical that we balance access, affordability and excellence for all.”