President Drake Visits Campus, Appears on ‘Face to Face’

President Michael V. Drake sits in a recording studio
UC President Michael V. Drake chatted with Chancellor Gary S. May on a special episode of “Face to Face With Chancellor May.” (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

President Michael V. Drake capped a daylong visit to UC Davis last week by sitting down for a chat with Chancellor Gary S. May — and their conversation is now available for everyone to watch as a special episode of Face to Face With Chancellor May.

Purple graphic with text "Face to Face with Chancellor May"

The pair discussed higher education, of course, but also their favorite music, hobbies and more.

“Today, you and I were together with some of our amazing students, who really have bright eyes focused on the future,” Drake said during the recording session on Wednesday (Dec. 8). “And it's just been great, being able to come back home and to have the privilege of working with all the people here at our university.”

Drake served as UC Irvine chancellor from 2005 to 2014, then as president of Ohio State University for six years before coming “back home” as the UC system’s 21st president in August 2020.

After introducing Drake as “my boss,” May asked the 21st president of the UC system for his impressions of UC Davis. Drake said the campus has grown a lot since his last visit, but the biggest thing that struck him was the safe atmosphere.

“I was really impressed with the students and their COVID-compliance behavior,” Drake said. “This is a very safe community, and it's safe because the way people are behaving.”

Watch the above video to hear more answers from Drake, including what May missed most during the pandemic and Drake’s advice for UC Davis moving forward.

UC President Michael V. Drake poses for a photo with ASUCD President Ryan Manriquez
As part of his day seeing various parts of campus, UC President Michael V. Drake met with students like ASUCD President Ryan Manriquez. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)


The next regularly scheduled episode of Face to Face will be released on Jan. 31. In the meantime, all nine previous episodes are available, featuring:

  • Maisha and Torry Winn, spouses and faculty members in the School of Education who co-direct the school’s Transformative Justice in Education Center.
  • Orly Clerge, a faculty member studying how suburbs change when Black residents “infuse their identity, their politics, their economic rationales into the overall structure of these places.”
  • Akshita Gandra, a senior majoring in cognitive science who founded The Revival Zine, an online publication focused on giving a voice to college students from around the country writing about feminism and social justice.
  • Theanne Griffith, an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology, School of Medicine, who is also a children’s book author.
  • Jennifer Gross, the head coach of the women’s basketball team.
  • Richard Michelmore, director of the UC Davis Genome Center of the architect of the university’s rapid on-campus COVID-19 testing.
  • Mahiri Moore Jr., a student with his own nonprofit organization focused on engaging Black and Latinx youths.
  • Santana Diaz, the executive chef for UC Davis Health who has pushed the hospital to focus on high-quality, local ingredients.
  • Vanessa and Victoria Liera, undergraduate students working to encourage and support women studying electrical engineering.

Media Resources

Cody Kitaura is a News and Media Relations Specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications, and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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