Chancellor Gary S. May Takes Office

Chancellor Gary S. May unpacks a box in his office.
Gary S. May unpacks in Mrak Hall, Monday (July 31), one day before his official first day as chancellor. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo)


Join Chancellor Gary S. May for UC Davis' fall welcome on Monday, Sept. 25. Dateline UC Davis will provide more details as the event draws closer.

Gary S. May officially takes up his post as UC Davis’ seventh chancellor today (Aug. 1).

The Board of Regents approved his appointment on Feb. 23, on the recommendation of President Janet Napolitano, who described him as “a dynamic leader and an accomplished scholar and engineer with a passion for helping others succeed.”

Up until now, May spent his entire career at his alma mater, the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta — 26 years, the last five as dean of the College of Engineering, the largest and most diverse school of its kind in the nation. He also had served as executive assistant to the Georgia Tech president.

May has moved into the Chancellor’s Residence with his wife, LeShelle R. May, a computer engineer who had a 21-year career at CNN in Atlanta. They have two daughters, Simone and Jordan, who are in college.

Read Gary May’s biography and LeShelle May’s biography on the UC Davis chancellor’s website.

With a new chancellor on board, Ralph J. Hexter, interim chancellor since April 2016, returns to his post as provost and executive vice chancellor, and Ken Burtis, interim provost, returns to his position as faculty advisor to the chancellor and provost.

A welcome message from Gary May

May, a native of St. Louis, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering at Georgia Tech in 1981, and a master’s and Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, both degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. He joined the Georgia Tech faculty in 1991.

Napolitano said she chose May from “an extraordinarily talented pool of candidates because I believe he’s the right person to guide UC Davis to even greater heights, advancing academic and research initiatives, building a stronger community with students, faculty, and staff, and furthering relations with the larger Davis and Sacramento areas.”

Chancellor May visited UC Davis the day after the regents approved his appointment, and he returned on April 14 for “Pack the Patio,” an Aggie Pride Friday event where he greeted faculty, staff and students informally on the south side of the Memorial Union; and to attend Black Convocation.

Follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter.

Media Resources

Dateline Staff, 530-752-6556,

Primary Category