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Part of Bison Avenue renamed after former UC Irvine chancellor

UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman, left, speaks, as UC President Michael Drake looks on.
UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman, left, speaks as UC President Michael Drake, right, is presented with his named street sign at the President Drake street Dedication and Unveiling Ceremony Saturday, June 4, 2021.
(Photo courtesy Steve Zylius / UCI)

A stretch of Bison Avenue has a new name, courtesy of Michael Drake — also known as the current president of the UC system.

“I’m incredibly humbled to be honored in this way on the University of California at Irvine campus,” Drake said in a statement released on Monday. “My family and I called UCI home for nearly a decade, and this means so much to us. UCI holds a very special place in our lives, and I’m so grateful to be remembered alongside my predecessors in such a meaningful way.”

Beginning at the intersection of California Avenue and ending at Ring Road, commuters will now be riding down Michael Drake Drive. Officials at the university said the renaming was only possible with the help of the Orange County Fire Authority and the city of Irvine.

Drake was previously the chancellor at UC Irvine and was succeeded by current UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman.

Other campus administrators — including Daniel Aldrich, Jack Peltason, Laurel Wilkening and Ralph Cicerone — have also had spaces throughout the campus named after them, including parks, gardens, roadways and sports fields.

“For decades to come, as visitors and members of our community enter campus, they will be reminded of the contributions Michael Drake made to our advancement,” Gillman stated.

“He was not only the architect of UCI’s rise to national and global prominence, but he set the standard in his commitment to the power of higher education to increase social mobility,” he continued.

University officials said they chose to name a section of Bison Avenue after Drake because it is a major connecting road to UC Irvine’s health sciences campus, and Drake is a physician and a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He also previously served as the UC vice president of health affairs prior to coming to Irvine.

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