Chancellor Gary S. May received more than a new academic hood last week at his investiture. The seventh UC Davis chancellor received praise and welcomes from every corner of the university and beyond. Below, find a sampling of comments delivered during the ceremony by the leaders of various constituencies, as well as by his family and the keynote speaker.
Master of ceremonies
Today marks the beginning of great things for UC Davis, and, if you know anything about UC Davis, you know that’s quite a statement. For well over a century, UC Davis has been at the forefront of meeting California’s needs, so it is only appropriate that we engage in a ceremony that is itself hundreds of years old.
— Andy Jones, lecturer and city of Davis poet laureate
Board of Regents
Chancellor May, you’ve come to us from Georgia Tech, where you were — if I may borrow a line from the Yellow Jackets fight song — a ‘hell of an engineer.’ You accomplished so much there in so many ways after earning your advanced degrees at UC Berkeley. You were a force for good as well as a force for excellence. Now that you’re back as a force in the UC family, we know that you’ll be both a hell of an engineer and a hell of an Aggie.
— George Kieffer, regents chair
We are a vibrant, diverse and fully engaged student body, and we want to join with you as you move boldly into the future. We hope that you will count on us as your collaborators, partners and colleagues as we move forward as a unified force dedicated to advancing UC Davis ... confident that together we can take the university to new heights.
— Josh Dalavai, president
Graduate Student Association
The graduate student community looks forward to working closely with you to improve the campus and to make sure we are as great as we can be. Few people have the courage and the tenacity to face this challenge head-on, and we eagerly await to see how your vision for this university comes to fruition.
— Roy Taggueg, president
You will find our staff to be keenly interested in the future, devoted to moving UC Davis ahead and dedicated to creating an inclusive home for all Aggies. ... In the short time we’ve got to know you and work with you, we are confident in your leadership, share in your vision and wish you and your lovely family all the best as we begin this vitally important work.
— Kate Shasky, chair
Chancellor May has already been a great partner to the Academic Senate. His energy, his enthusiasm and his ambitions for UC Davis match the faculty’s own. He has brought to his first months an eagerness to learn and engage, which is essential to understanding the complexity and the depth of UC Davis and its impact on California and the world. In addition, Chancellor May recognizes that the story of UC Davis remains in many ways unwritten. To write it will take optimism, determination and a hunger to examine the unknown.
— Rachael Goodhue, chair
I can feel this positive energy in this room. I think that’s what we’re looking forward to as we move forward here at UC Davis. Chancellor May, the 1,600 members of the Academic Federation welcome you to UC Davis. ... We look forward to working with you to continue the condition of excellence at UC Davis in education, research and public service.
— Pat Randolph, chair
UC Davis Foundation
UC Davis is a very special place and we have every confidence you’ll be able to lead us forward as we set out to reach even greater heights. … We are honored to have someone of your stature and ability here to lead us, and together we will know no limits.
— Bruce Bell, chair
Cal Aggie Alumni Association
Aggies are everywhere. We’re confident as you travel the world during your chancellorship you will meet proud and productive Aggies everywhere you go. For Aggies are problem-solvers, we are entrepreneurs, we are givers, we strive to be diverse and inclusive. This, Chancellor May, as you so often say in 140 characters or less, this is who we are. Our blue and gold has never been stronger, more enthused nor more committed to helping you take UC Davis to the very top of public research universities.
— Debby Stegura, chair
The bottom line is, in my very short time here at Davis, I’ve realized this is a family community, and in my eyes UC Davis is getting a remarkable family man.
— LeShelle May
Leaders, particularly leaders of great universities, help chart a course that opens doors for these kinds of possibilities. They reinforce our democratic traditions and enlarge the minds of students while challenging them to achieve their highest aspirations. Your new chancellor, Gary May, comes to you with a background that has prepared him to help you meet the challenges and opportunities this institution faces.
— G. Wayne Clough, president emeritus, Georgia Institute of Technology
University of California
In his time there (at Georgia Tech), Chancellor May developed successful programs to attract, mentor and retain underrepresented women and ethnic minorities in the STEM fields. He mentored up-and-coming students and researchers, believing his own success is best judged by how he enhances the lives of others.
— Janet Napolitano, president
I have dreamed for a long time of standing on a stage like this, all decked out in full academic regalia — the robe, the hood, the tam and the bling (referring to the Chancellor’s Medal he had just received) — and saying out loud, ‘Hi, Mom! It’s me up here, your son. Can you believe this? Did you ever imagine me becoming the leader of a major university?’
— Gary S. May