Chancellor May Elected to Lab Leadership Role

As Council Vice Chair in Universities Research Association

Quick Summary

  • Consortium of more than 90 leading research-oriented institutions, mostly in U.S.
  • It oversaw the development of Fermilab and has a management role that continues today
  • Association also involved in the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory in Argentina

Chancellor Gary S. May has been elected vice chair of the Council of Presidents of a consortium of universities that manages and operates research facilities in the national interest.

The Washington, D.C.-based Universities Research Association made the announcement Thursday (Feb. 13), saying that May will move up to chair in 2021.

Established as a not-for-profit corporation in 1965, at the behest of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee and the National Academy of Sciences, the association’s projects include the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois and the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory in Argentina.

Membership comprises more than 90 leading research-oriented institutions, primarily in the United States, and also in Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Council officers

Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen, an entomologist, moved up to chair of the Council of Presidents during annual meeting and policy forum held Feb. 4 in Washington, D.C. May, whose degrees are in electrical engineering and computer science, was elected to the vice chairmanship at this same meeting.

Chancellor May was unable to attend, but Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor of research, was there to represent UC Davis.

The council also elected four new members to the association’s Board of Trustees: Barry Barish, Nobel laureate in physics, Distinguished Professor of physics and astronomy, UC Riverside, and formerly of the California Institute of Technology; Harris Pastides, Distinguished President Emeritus, University of South Carolina, and former executive chair of the association’s Board of Trustees; Robert Robbins, president of the University of Arizona; and Timothy Sands,  president of Virginia Tech.

The Universities Research Association created and operated Fermilab from 1967 to 2006 as the prime contractor to the Department of Energy. In 2007, the association partnered with the University of Chicago to form Fermi Research Alliance, LLC, which now holds the contract.

In 1999, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation provided funds to the association to cover the U.S. share of the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory’s $50 million Southern Hemisphere Array.

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