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Ohio State President Michael Drake Will Retire Next Year

The Ohio State University President Michael Drake speaks during a vigil Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, following an attack on campus the previous day.
John Minchillo
/
Associated Press
The Ohio State University President Michael Drake speaks during a vigil Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, following an attack on campus the previous day.

The tenure of Ohio State University President Michael Drake will come to an end next year. Drake says he will retire following the 2019-2020 school year."Following many months of thoughtful consideration, Brenda and I have concluded that after a combined 15 years of campus leadership, here and in California, the time is right for a change in the trajectory of our lives," Drake wrote in a Thursday morning email.

Drake, 69, came to Ohio State in 2014 from the University of California-Irvine, and was quickly thrust into the national spotlight with a controversy surrounding then band director Jon Waters, who Drake fired for allowing a “sexualized culture” within the band.

Drake’s time at Ohio State has also been marked by unprecedented prosperity. Graduation rates, research spending, and fundraising are at all-time highs. Drake, a medical doctor and former ophthalmology professor, oversaw the expansion of Ohio State’s medical campus, as well as efforts to create Wexner Medical Center satellite campuses.

"We love our work, and we could not be more proud of the great progress the university has made through your leadership and the collective focus and efforts of the entire Buckeye Nation," Drake's email said. "But time does not stand still, and what better time to pass the baton than at the completion of our 150th and strongest year ever. The Ohio State University is positioned for nothing but continued success."

In November 2016, Drake helped lead the school through an on-campus terror attack where a man drove a car into a group of people before stabbing several people. An Ohio State police officer fatally shot suspect Abdul Artan about two minutes after the attack started.

Drake suspended former Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer in 2018 for not properly managing former assistant coach Zach Smith, who was eventually fired after his wife accused him of domestic violence.

Depending on when he leaves office, Drake’s tenure could end before Ohio State settles a legal case against hundreds of men who allege sexual abuse by former athletic department doctor Richard Strauss. The alleged abuse happened years before Drake came to Ohio State, but Strauss’ accusers say the school didn’t do enough to stop Strauss. They’ve also criticized Ohio State’s efforts to block a lawsuit. Ohio State officials say the abuse happened outside the statute of limitations for civil cases, but both sides remain in litigation over a possible settlement.