Chancellor May Hosts 100 Students for Wakanda Holiday

They Gathered in Rented Theater to See ‘Black Panther’ Sequel

Chancellor Gary S. May, back to camera, watches movie in theater
Chancellor Gary S. May and his guests on their Wakanda holiday, on Veterans Day, watching “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Chancellor Gary S. May has taken students to the movies before, but his latest outing took the cake:

He rented a theater, put out an invitation to his student advisors and undergraduate advisory board, along with ASUCD leaders and other constituencies, allotted a couple dozen tickets for Davis High students — and ended up hosting more than 100 students on a day when they had no school: Veterans Day (Nov. 11).

The chancellor has long extended an offer to host movie outings, but he has a rule: “It has to be a movie I want to see!”

And this one, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, “is one I really want to see,” he said in brief remarks before the showing at the Regal Holiday Davis. The film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe follows 2018's Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman, and Marvel faced the difficult task of picking up the story after Boseman's death from colon cancer in 2020.

UC Davis and Davis High students await the screening in Auditorium 1.
Chancellor May greets his guests.

The chancellor, who has been reading and collecting comics since he was 4, asked the audience: “Who knows where the Black Panther first appeared in Marvel Comics?” One of the students knew the comic, Fantastic Four, but not the issue number. Chancellor May did: 52. (The year was 1966, by the way.)

He thanked his guests for coming, gave the Wakandan salute — right arm over left arm, making an X against his chest — and made his way to his seat to watch the movie with his wife, LeShelle.

Chancellor May interviews a student in front of "Wakanda Forever" poster
The chancellor interviews Jayla Sledge-Odigie, fourth-year human development major ...
Chancellor May interviews student in front of "Wakanda Forever" poster
... and Irvin Rodriguez, fourth-year civil engineering major, after the movie.

Two hours and 41 minutes later, he returned to the lobby to interview students, on camera, asking how they liked the movie. His own review: “Excellent.” Well, except for the reference of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the story, not to mention the scenes that were filmed at MIT, when his preference would have been to see UC Davis in that role. (Yes, the movie has a link to higher education — right up the chancellor’s alley.)

“Tony Stark (Iron Man) went to MIT, and they get overused in the Marvel Universe,” he said. “I would love for our campus to be part of the MCU.”

Wakanda Forever scene at MIT
On location at MIT: Okoye (Danai Gurira), left, and Shuri (Letitia Wright), on a mission from Wakanda.
RELATED CONTENT: UC Davis alumni Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Marvel Cinematic Universe writers, appeared as guests for a Chancellor’s Colloquium in 2020.

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Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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