President Drake talks leadership, success at Chamber of Commerce CEO series
CEO Insights series focuses on conversations with local leaders in central Ohio
Members of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and local business leaders filled an auditorium at the Columbus Museum of Art today to listen to Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake discuss his views on higher education, the power of Buckeye Nation and his successes at Ohio State.
Drake was the featured speaker for the chamber’s CEO Insights series. The interview series began in 2013 and has featured speakers like Les Wexner, CEO of L Brands, and Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.
Chamber of Commerce CEO Don DePerro, who moderated the event, started the conversation with a question about Drake’s ambitions for Ohio State.
“We want to be the best university we can be. We are focused on students and being able to create a pathway for them to move forward in their lives,” Drake said.
Drake said he repeats four goals when students begin the application process, come to orientation and start the academic year. Drake said he wants them to focus on academic excellence in the classroom, research and creative excellence, character development and growth as leaders.
Drake said those goals tie into the university’s commitment to educate the workforce of tomorrow.
We are a land-grant university and part of our founding mission is to educate the people of our community
“We are a land-grant university and part of our founding mission is to educate the people of our community,” he said. “And to educate them in things that actually help to lift the quality of life in the community.”
Drake discussed the growth and success of the Wexner Medical Center, the search for a new executive vice president and chancellor for academic health care and an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct raised against Richard Strauss, a former university-employed physician.
While Drake said he couldn’t comment on the ongoing, independent investigation, he said the bottom line is uncovering the truth.
“The quicker we get to the truth, and the clearer it is and the more complete it is, the better for us,” he said.
DePerro asked the president about some of his greatest accomplishments in his time leading Ohio State. Drake cited the university’s tuition guarantee program that locks in tuition prices for a student from freshman year through graduation. He also pointed to the Buckeye Opportunity Program, where the university covers the full cost of tuition for the state’s Pell-eligible students.
Drake concluded the conversation by focusing on students again.
“A great privilege for me has been to work with students during my career. They are bright, young, enterprising, optimistic and innovative people,” he said. “They are excited about the future and I love existing in a world where it’s all about the future and what we’re going to do and what the possibilities are. The great privilege that we have at this university is to try to make that future better for all of us.”