“As we approach the university’s 150th birthday – just five years from now – we must re-envision our land-grant role in the modern light of the 21st century.” – President Michael V. Drake
On March 31, 2015, President Michael V. Drake, MD, took the oath of office as Ohio State’s 15th president at his investiture ceremony. In remarks to an audience that included faculty, staff and students, alumni and donors, university leadership, community leaders, elected officials and delegations from 45 colleges and universities, Drake said Ohio State must continue to be “a beacon that illuminates the clearest path to the American Dream.”
He identified “inclusive excellence” as the underlying inspiration for his vision for the university – a concept that honors both our future aspirations and land-grant history. And he said that Ohio State, by virtue of its scale and scope, should be a national leader in the following areas that underpin the university’s academic mission and the future of higher education.
Access, affordability and excellence
In an era of rising costs and competition, universities struggle to provide access to education that is both affordable and excellent – what Drake considers “fundamental to who we are as a land-grant university in the 21st century.” He announced a bold initiative to identify $400 million over the next five years to support scholarships, academic programs and new ideas and innovations. The first targeted use of these funds will go directly to fund scholarships for low- and middle-income students by a minimum of $15 million beginning this fall, with an overall goal of as much as $100 million by 2020.
Ohio State’s founding as a land-grant institution drives the university’s mission to uplift lives through scholarship. Drake challenged the university to re-commit to its motto of Education for Citizenship, identifying food insecurity in Ohio as a critical target. In addition to financial support and current efforts from our colleges, the Discovery Theme initiative and community partnerships, Drake issued a rallying cry to Buckeye Nation to bring its full power to bear on one of society’s most profound needs both locally and globally.
Diversity and inclusion
Amid the current examples of racial discord on college campuses, Drake called upon the Buckeye community to add their “voices to the chorus of others from all corners of the country and walks of life who aspire to a more inclusive and perfect society.” He has charged a task force from across the university to look broadly at diversity issues that affect students, staff and faculty and develop best practices. He said, Ohio State “must be a leading light along the arc toward greater inclusion.”