Gary S. May

Bio

Portrait of Gary S. May, UC Davis Chancellor

Chancellor Gary S. May

Gary S. May became UC Davis’ seventh chancellor on Aug. 1, 2017. He leads the most comprehensive campus in the University of California system, with four colleges and six professional schools. UC Davis enrolls more than 39,000 students, brings in nearly $850 million annually in sponsored research and contributes at least $8 billion annually to California’s economy. In 2019, UC Davis reached the Top 10 in four national rankings of universities, including fifth among public universities in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings.

An accomplished scholar and engineer, May came to UC Davis after a three-decade career at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He was dean of the institute’s College of Engineering — the largest and most diverse school of its kind in the nation.

Prior to his appointment as dean, May was the Steve W. Chaddick Chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He also served as the executive assistant to then-Georgia Tech President G. Wayne Clough.

May is known as a dynamic leader with a passion for helping others succeed. He believes success is best judged by how we enhance the lives of others. Throughout his career, May has championed diversity and mentorship in both higher education and the workplace. He developed nationally recognized programs to attract, mentor and retain underrepresented groups in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

In 2015, President Barack Obama honored May with the Presidential Award for Excellence in STEM Mentoring.

He also believes in the positive impact academia and industry have when they partner for the common good. He launched Aggie Square in April 2018 to spur economic growth in Sacramento and help create jobs at a variety of education levels. In November 2019, May and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg were recognized with a Leadership Award from the Association of University Research Parks for creating a unique partnership for Aggie Square.

In September 2018, May was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering — one of the highest honors in the field — for his innovations in educational programs for underrepresented groups in engineering and his contributions to semiconductor manufacturing research.

In April 2020, May was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences under the classification of “educational and academic leadership.” 

May received the 2020 Career Services Champion Award from the National Association of Colleges and Employers for his forward-thinking leadership in support of career services. He was also honored as a Bay Area Champion of Health by the National Medical Fellowships Bay Area Council. The award recognizes leaders who drive positive change in the communities they serve and noted his “passion for mentorship and advocacy of diversity in STEM.

May has won numerous honors for his research in computer-aided manufacturing of integrated circuits. He authored more than 200 technical publications, contributed to 15 books and holds a patent related to this work. 

In 2010, May was named “outstanding engineering alumnus” of UC Berkeley, where he earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science.

A prominent voice in higher education, May serves as Vice Chair of the Universities Research Association’ Council of Presidents. He sits on the executive committee of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities Board of Directors and is an advisor for the National Society of Black Engineers.

He is a Commissioner of the Council on Competitiveness, a national organization dedicated to growing America’s economy, fostering innovation and increasing productivity through public-private partnerships.

May serves on the board of directors for Leidos and for the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory.

A native of St. Louis, May is married to LeShelle R. May, a software engineer with CNN. They have two grown daughters, Simone and Jordan.

 

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