Ohio State President Michael Drake Announces He Will Retire in 2020

By Dan Hope on November 21, 2019 at 9:28 am
Michael Drake

The Ohio State University will have a new president next year.

Michael Drake announced Thursday morning that he will retire as Ohio State's president in 2020.

“Ohio State is a very special place. Brenda and I are blessed to be part of the incredible Buckeye community,” Drake said in a news 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.”

Drake, who has been president of the university since June 2014, will continue in his role through at least the end of the 2019-20 academic year and will remain on Ohio State's faculty following his retirement as president.

Ohio State will launch a national search for his successor. Lewis Von Thaer, a member of Ohio State's Board of Trusteees, will lead the search committee.

“The university has never been stronger, and there couldn't be a better time to position a new leader for success,” said Board of Trustees chairman Gary Heminger.

In addition to his role as Ohio State's president, Drake also currently serves as chairman of the NCAA's Board of Governors.

Drake has been a frequent target of criticism among Ohio State football fans, many of whom disagreed with the university's decision to suspend Urban Meyer for three games after its investigation into Meyer and former wide receivers coach Zach Smith last summer. The university has also faced one of its most high-profile scandals ever over the past two years, as hundreds of men have accused former Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss – who worked with numerous Ohio State sports teams – of sexual abuse during his tenure at the university from 1978-98.

In an interview with Eleven Warriors in September, though, Drake said he felt that overall, 2018-19 was Ohio State's best year ever as a university.

“We have our extraordinarily talented and diverse classes applying, the highest graduation rates and the most graduates in our history, the most research that we’ve ever done, the best fundraising that we’ve ever done,” Drake said. 

He also said at the time that he is “really excited” about the future of the university.

“We’re really firing on all cylinders, and really proud to be among the nation’s leaders,” Drake said. “I’m so proud of the way that our 100,000 faculty, students and staff … really, really proud of how their efforts over all of these years have allowed us to do such a great job.”

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