Regents Approve Napolitano’s Choice for Chancellor
The UC Board of Regents voted unanimously Feb. 23 to appoint Gary S. May, dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering, as the seventh chancellor of UC Davis.
The regents acted on a recommendation from President Janet Napolitano, who had announced her choice for UC Davis chancellor two days earlier.
“Gary May is a dynamic leader and an accomplished scholar and engineer with a passion for helping others succeed,” Napolitano said in her Feb. 21 announcement. “He was chosen from an extraordinarily talented pool of candidates because I believe he’s the right person to guide UC Davis to even greater heights, advancing academic and research initiatives, building a stronger community with students, faculty, and staff, and furthering relations with the larger Davis and Sacramento areas.”
May will assume the chancellorship on Aug. 1. Ralph J. Hexter will continue to serve as interim chancellor until May arrives.
“I could not be more pleased, nor more excited, to serve as the next chancellor of the University of California at Davis,” May said. “UC Davis is renowned for its excellent education and research, for providing its diverse student body with exceptional pathways for upward mobility and leadership, for giving its faculty opportunities for impactful discovery, and for serving the state and nation in areas of critical need. These values speak to my spirit, and I cannot wait to join the campus community."
May, 52, and a native of St. Louis, Missouri, has been at Georgia Tech for nearly three decades, most recently as dean of the College of Engineering. As dean, he serves as the college’s chief academic officer, leading more than 400 faculty members and more than 13,000 students. Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering graduates more engineers than any other college in the United States.
May has held the Southern Company Chair at the college since 2015 and also maintains an academic appointment as professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
“In my classes and early in my career, it always concerned me how few people like me there were,” May said. “By that I don’t mean smart or determined or curious people. I mean African-Americans, and people of color in general, and also women. That’s when I became interested in finding ways to ensure equal access to education and opportunity. We need to nurture talent, for the good of the individual and for the benefit of us all.”
Said Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, “For the past five years, Dean May has led the nation’s largest and most diverse college of engineering. His commitment to mentoring students and developing programs to attract and retain female and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields has benefitted students not only here at Georgia Tech, but throughout the nation. His efforts to increase interdisciplinary collaboration and help graduates gain entrepreneurial confidence have had wide-ranging impact. We are grateful for his vision, energy, and thought leadership while here at Georgia Tech.”
May is married to LeShelle R. May, and they have two daughters, Simone and Jordan.