Chancellor’s 5-Year Anniversary Brings Special ‘Thursday Thoughts’

Quick Summary

  • He and LeShelle record episode in front of audience
  • Series offers the opportunity to really know the Mays
  • Watch it on chancellor’s Instagram account — or here!

If you have never watched Thursday Thoughts, Chancellor Gary S. May and LeShelle’s weekly video series, now is a perfect time to start — on the chancellor’s Instagram account or on this very page (see above).


This week’s episode is a special one, the first Thursday Thoughts to be recorded before an audience, in celebration of the Mays’ arrival at UC Davis in 2017. You will learn why they do Thursday Thoughts and see how much fun they have doing it.

Produced by the social media team in the Office of Strategic Communications, the series began March 7, 2019, and gained the title Thursday Thoughts the following week. New episodes have been coming on a fairly regular basis ever since — to this week’s No. 128.

The audience idea came from a Thursday Thoughts viewer — and the Mays, with the help of the Office of Strategic Communications, made it happen, bringing in a small number of students and prospective students, alumni and staff for the recording session Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 2) in the courtyard of the Chancellor’s Residence.

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, or CASE, has twice honored Strategic Communications’ social media team for its efforts to build trust in Chancellor May and the administration, through such initiatives as “Thursday Thoughts”: bronze award in 2020 and grand gold in 2022, the latter being the highest award in the CASE Circle of Excellence competition.

‘What is Thursday Thoughts?’

Normally, Thursday Thoughts runs for about four to five minutes and is a two-person show: the chancellor and LeShelle. This episode runs longer and includes a host, Gauruv Virk, a podcaster and June graduate of UC Davis (Bachelor Science degree in engineering)..

His first question: “What is Thursday Thoughts?” — meant to help first-time viewers familiarize themselves with the series.

Wide shot of "thursday Thoughts" recording with audience
Chancellor May and LeShelle May with host Gauruv Virk ’22 at center stage for the recording of “Thursday Thoughts,” Aug. 2 at the Chancellor’s Residence. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Thursday Thoughts is our weekly Instagram message to the campus community,” the chancellor said. “We answer questions directly that are submitted, mostly from students but some come from staff and faculty.

“We don’t rehearse. We just talk like we normally talk to each other. One quick, funny story, we had some students over for a dinner ... LeShelle and I got into a little back and forth, just talking, and one of the students said, ‘This is just like Thursday Thoughts!’”

Audience, people seated in chairs, for video recording
The audience included students and prospective students and recent graduates. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Chancellor May noted how Thursday Thoughts “makes us relatable and accessible,” and LeShelle added: “It exposes who we really are. Oftentimes, people think, in leadership, they’re not relatable ... and they’re not normal. But we’re normal!

“And it also gives you [speaking to the chancellor] a chance to say what’s happening on campus. ... Actually, I learn a lot on Thursday Thoughts!”

“What’s happening on campus” can include “announcements and other information that students and everyone else on campus might need,” the chancellor said. Indeed, he has delivered many messages about COVID-19 over the last 2½ years.

"Thurdsday Thoughts" title card, Chancellor May and LeShelle strolling
“Thursday Thoughts” introduces a new title card with this week’s episode.

OK, so that’s what Thursday Thoughts is all about ... now you can watch the rest of this week’s episode to learn about the chancellor and TikTok, what he and LeShelle are looking forward to in the new academic year, their favorite accomplishment over the last five years and what’s next, their travel history and plans, the three albums each of them would want to have with them if stranded on different islands, and more (including the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of course)!

And stay tuned for future episodes on the chancellor’s Instagram account.

Media Resources

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

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