The recent investiture of Ohio State University’s newest president, Michael Drake, outlined the plan he means to implement for the future of the school and notably left no acknowledgement of the particularly troubled tenure he has endured prior to the speech.
The speech, for its part, was focused, determined, and even inspirational. Drake made well known his knowledge of this institution’s success and the high goals he has set to further it. The demeanor of his address was structured, intellectual, and perhaps even elegant. It payed attention entirely to the university, rather than his presidency. It relentlessly looked forward to the potential of the school, stopping only briefly to reflect on the history and principles that have guided OSU this far.
Perhaps the entire event was overshadowed, however, by the issues that did not find their way into his address. These include, amongst other things, a large PR battle with Jon Waters, the former director of Ohio State’s incredibly successful marching band, and a student body that has been slow to accept him in the wake of the former president, Gordon Gee.
For the university as a whole, the situation reflects tensions that have been present for much of recent memory. The investiture, though, may be the first step in moving forward following these events. The progress Drake defined as necessary, including the reduction of student debt and the revitalization of the nearby community outline his vision for Ohio State. Only time will tell if that vision is enough to begin repairing the wounds of the past, and to start building for the future.