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Michael Drake officially begins his tenure as Ohio State's president
Drake is replacing former President Gordon Gee

The Ohio State University's new president Michael Drake.
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Ohio State faculty and staff welcomed Dr. Michael Drake to Columbus today for his first official day as the university’s 15th president.  For Ohio Public Radio, WOSU’s Debbie Holmes reports on the first African American president of Ohio’s largest university.

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Michael Drake faced reporters’ cameras and microphones as well as faculty and staff members.

Inside Bricker Hall, the 63-year-old professor, physician-scientist, and longtime university leader told a crowd that he is ready to meet the challenges Ohio State faces. Drake says working with tight budgets will be one of those.

“This is an expensive enterprise for everyone, and we want to continue to improve the quality of what we do and do a better job for our students and for the people who work with us and to do that within reasonable means -- and that’s always a challenge."

Drake says other challenges include staying competitive with other universities in a worldwide economy and helping families afford a college education.

“My life has been focused on education and health care and those are two very important things to central Ohio and the rest of the country at a time when both are under great stress. So it’s a very exciting time to be involved."

OSU picked the former University of California-Irvine chancellor for the job in January. Drake is the first African-American president at OSU.  When not on the job, he enjoys cycling and playing guitar.

“What they should know is that I look a lot better playing guitar than I sound. So that’s the most important thing for you to think of,” jokes Drake.

Drake is scheduled to make about $1 million a year in total compensation, about half of what OSU paid former President Gordon Gee. 

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