June 2020

Leadership announcement. Kristina M. Johnson as the 16th president in university history. She brings more than 30 years of experience as an academic, business and policy leader — and will begin her tenure on Sept. 1. She was recommended to the board by the Presidential Search Committee, composed of a selection subcommittee and an advisory subcommittee of students, faculty, staff and stakeholders. Johnson will succeed Michael V. Drake, who has served as president since 2014.

Legacy of excellence. The board celebrated President Drake’s tenure and renamed the University Institute for Teaching and Learning in his honor. The Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning serves as a tribute to Drake’s commitment to providing greater access to an affordable and excellent Buckeye education. The institute’s Teaching Support Program is now one of the most comprehensive teaching excellence programs in higher education. Also during Drake’s tenure, the university has seen record highs in applications, graduation rates, the academic excellence and diversity of students, and donor support.

Focus on racial justice. Ohio State is establishing a university task force to examine issues related to racism and racial disparities. The task force will bring forward specific recommendations for changes to policies, processes, practices and programs that will help Ohio State be a better example of the ideal university. Additionally, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion partnered with the Office of Academic Affairs to establish a website that has additional details and serves as a clearinghouse for information and resources about forums and opportunities to contribute to fostering meaningful change.

Artistic inclinations. Alumnus Ratmir Timashev MS ‘96 and his wife, Angela Timashev, have committed their charitable foundation to provide $17M to the College of Arts and Sciences. This gift — the largest philanthropic contribution made by an individual or foundation in the college’s history — will support construction of a new music building as part of the emerging Arts District. It will also support the renovation of Celeste Laboratory of Chemistry and create endowed scholarships for Arts and Sciences students.

World renowned. An Ohio State soil scientist whose research spans five continents has been awarded this year’s World Food Prize. Over five decades, Rattan Lal has reduced hunger by pioneering agricultural methods across the globe that not only restore degraded soil but also reduce global warming. As the 2020 winner of the prize, Lal was awarded $250,000, which he will donate for future soil research and education. He is the first at Ohio State to receive the award. He is also the university’s first recipient of the Japan Prize.