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Black educators are breaking racial barriers in academic leadership. According to People, Dr. Michael Drake has been appointed as the president of the University of California System, making him the first Black person to serve at the helm in its 150-year history.

Dr. Drake—who was formerly president at The Ohio State University—has an expansive career in educational administration. In many of his roles, increasing diversity and opening pathways for students from underrepresented groups has been at the core of his mission. At The Ohio State University, he increased the number of students of color and implemented initiatives centered on financial aid and changing the landscape of the tuition structure. At the University of California Irvine, where he served as chancellor, he cultivated programs focused on public health, nursing and law.

In his new role—where he will oversee 280,000 students—he hopes to guide and support students and faculty through these unprecedented times and eliminate barriers that stand in the way of Black students enrolling in institutions within the University of California System. “I’m excited and ready to go. The yawning wounds of social injustice that we see in so many ways that really tears at the fabric of our lives,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “I’m a firm believer in inclusion. It takes all of us to do our best work.”

News about Dr. Drake’s appointment comes after it was announced that A. Benjamin Spencer was appointed to become the dean of William & Mary Law School, marking the first time a Black person has held the position in the Virginia-based institution’s 241-year history.


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