Chancellor Gary S. May
Gary S. May 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 $941 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.
May 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. In 2021, he received the prestigious Lifetime Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for demonstrating extraordinary leadership to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in the fields of science and engineering.
As chancellor of one of the world’s great public research universities, Gary S. May leads UC Davis as it advances its mission in several key areas, including:
- Achieving equal access to education and opportunity for students of all backgrounds
- Building diversity and nurturing success among students, faculty and staff
- Deepening the university’s engagement with Sacramento, Davis and the surrounding region
- Conducting useful research and outstanding scholarship in areas of critical need to California, the nation and the world
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.
An accomplished scholar and engineer, May came to UC Davis in 2017 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 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.
In September 2018, May was inducted to the National Academy of Engineering for his success in growing diversity and his innovations in semiconductor manufacturing. In April 2020, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for “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 honored by the National Medical Fellowships as a Bay Area Champion of Health in 2020. May was recognized by the Sacramento Kings Foundation as a 2021 Dream All-Star, for his positive impact on the Sacramento region and commitment to championing initiatives that support opportunities for the Black community.
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, and the advisory board for the Lawrence Berkeley National 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.