IRVINE ( — UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake is quitting to take the top job at Ohio State University, UC President Janet Napolitano announced Thursday.

“Michael Drake has informed me that he intends to step down as chancellor at the University of California, Irvine, effective June 30, 2014, to become president of the Ohio State University,” Napolitano announced in a statement.

Drake, 63, will be Ohio State’s 15th president and the university’s first black president.

Drake, who has served as Irvine’s chancellor since 2005, said he made the decision with “decidedly mixed emotions.”

“The opportunity to begin a new adventure at The Ohio State University is compelling and unique, but the requirement that we leave home and family to do so is formidable. Brenda and I are proud of the tremendous progress our campus has made, even as we all endured the hardships of the recession. As a community we emerged from that difficult period stronger and more creative than ever because of the collective efforts of the individuals that comprise the Anteater family,” Drake said.

During his tenure, Drake, a physician, oversaw the foundation of the UC Irvine Law School, including the firing and subsequent re-hiring of Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding dean of the school, in 2009.

There was also a high-profile prosecution of a group of UCI students — known as the Irvine 11 — who protested a speech by an Israeli ambassador to the United States. One student pleaded guilty before trial and later had the charge dismissed when he completed 40 hours of community service.

Ten other students were convicted of misdemeanor charges in September 2011. A panel of Orange County Superior Court judges heard oral arguments on an appeal Dec. 19 and a ruling is pending.

Drake received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a medical degree from UC San Francisco. He is a board member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the governing body of collegiate sports, and taught a UCI freshman class on the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Napolitano appointed UC Irvine Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Howard Gillman to serve as interim chancellor during a national search for Drake’s successor. She also said she will convene a committee soon to conduct a national search for Irvine’s new chancellor.

“I am grateful to Chancellor Drake for his more than 30 years of service to the University of California, as a faculty member, a health administrator and, finally, as UC Irvine’s fifth chancellor,” Napolitano said.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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