The University of California (UC) has named its first black president, said a BBC report.
This is the first time in the university’s 150-year history.
Michael Drake, 69, will lead one of the largest public university systems in the US.
He takes the helm amidst the budget cut and campus life for 280,000 UC students is lift over by the coronavirus pandemic.
Drake will succeed Janet Napolitano.
She is the former Arizona governor who became UC’s first female president in 2013.
Napolitano described Drake’s appointment, as:
“One more step in our university’s ongoing effort to ensure that the university reflects the rich diversity of our state”.
“I recognize the significance of these firsts.
“I hope that this kind of leadership diversity at our nation’s universities will soon become commonplace.”
Tall Order Ahead
Drake’s appointment comes as universities around the country grapple with issues of economic and racial diversity, said BBC.
Also there is the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
The University has a $40bn budget, multiple campuses and five medical centers across the state, said the report.
The UC system is also the third-largest employer in California.
Moreover, the institution is facing steep budget cuts.
It also confronted with demands for radical changes to its admissions process to include more black and Hispanic students.
Drake is a medical doctor by training
He has worked within the UC system previously.
Drake was the acting as the University of California Irvine’s chancellor from 2005 to 2014.
Also, he is the system-wide vice-president for health affairs from 2000 to 2005.
He had served as president of The Ohio State University from 2014 until stepping down this past week.
According to the report, it was a 10-month search and selection process.
Until finally the UC Board of Regents had unanimously approved Drake’s appointment.