Dr. Michael V. Drake’s presidency at The Ohio State University had a controversial start.
Drake had to announce the firing of popular marching band director Jon Waters several weeks into his term.
“It was not a trivial thing to be involved with,” he said.
Drake emphasized that the firing was a collective decision, and said it was something he wishes the administration had taken care of before he arrived on campus.
“We had intensive discussions over many days,” he said. “I was the one who announced our collective decision. That is my role.
“We’re not perfect, but we do our very best.”
Students say they think Drake is a bit more “behind-the-scenes” than his predecessor, E. Gordon Gee, who would even show up at fraternity parties. Drake, an ophthalmologist, seems more at ease with medical students or in an academic setting.
“I would rather go to dinner with them than go to a party,” he said.
Drake said he is extremely proud of his mother, a black woman, who graduated from college in the Depression era and worked several jobs to get her education. He said Ohio State needs to “widen the net” and make sure students from all backgrounds are welcomed.
“What good is it to move up a little bit if you leave your community behind?” he said.