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Michael Drake Says Controversies Played No Role In Leaving Ohio State Presidency

Ohio State president Michael Drake is leaving his position at the end of the school year.
The Ohio State University
Ohio State president Michael Drake is leaving his position at the end of the school year.

As he steps down as Ohio State University's president after five years, Michael Drake says the school's recent challenges and controversies had no impact on his decision.

Drake helped the university make strides in improving metrics like graduation rate and minority enrollment, and he’s helped reduce the amount of students graduating with debt.

But his presidency has also seen turmoil tied to former football coach Urban Meyer, who stepped down last year after being suspended for his handling of an assistant's domestic violence allegations, and the ongoing Richard Strauss case.

“You know, we’re a complicated large institution,” Drake says. “We’re really proud of the way we’ve moved forward. Like all institutions, there are things that are more difficult or challenging. Some of these are things from the past, we’ve done our best to address them and move forward. That's part of the business.”

Drake emphasizes the university has done its best to be transparent and accountable as its handled those issues. He explains the timing just felt right.

“150th anniversary, it’d be our 15th year doing this work—that seemed like a good time to take a step,” he says. “So, you know the university is doing great, you’ve run a great lap, it’s a great time to hand off the baton.”

Drake plans to step down from his current position at the end of the academic year, and continue with the university in a faculty role.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.