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Letters to the Editor: Michael Drake is the UC president California needs right now

Michael Drake
UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake attends the university’s class of 2014 commencement at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. He will succeed Janet Napolitano as president of UC in August.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I applaud the University of California Board of Regents for its diligence in seeking and selecting president-elect Michael V. Drake. He has the experience, dedication and collaborative leadership style that will be essential to guiding the UC system through the challenging days ahead.

As a former UC regent, I have had the privilege of working with Drake when he was chancellor of UC Irvine. I know that his long and distinguished career in higher education and medicine gives him the necessary skills to lead a system that is vital to California.

As the first president of color in UC’s history, Drake brings a demonstrated record of supporting access and racial equity. He is the right person to lead the UC system.

Joanne Kozberg, Los Angeles

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The writer is a California Coalition for Public Higher Education board member and a UC regent emeritus.

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To the editor: I was pleased to read of Drake’s new appointment, and I wish him great success as he leads UC.

Soon I will turn 71, and I hope I live long enough to read the Los Angeles Times headlines without that special designation of the “first” black person, woman, transgender person or Jewish person to hold a position of prominent leadership.

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That being said, I would not sigh and say “tsk tsk” if on Nov. 4, I read your front-page, above-the-fold headline that proclaims, “First Black woman elected vice president.”

Rosemary Chiaverini, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: Congratulations to UC and to Drake.

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It was 50 years ago that Clifton Wharton Jr. was designated as president of Michigan State University, becoming the first Black American to head up a predominantly white public research university.

I was a graduate student at the time and sat on the search committee as a founding member of the MSU Black Student Alliance. Drake was 20 years old at the time, and I am sure Wharton inspired him as he did many others who became academic leaders.

Philip S. Hart, Los Feliz


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