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Gary S. May, PhD

Gary S. May, PhD

University of California Davis

Gary S. May leads the most comprehensive campus in the University of California system, with four colleges and six professional schools. UC Davis enrolls more than 40,000 students, brings in more than $1 billion annually in sponsored research and contributes more than $12.5 billion annually to California’s economy. In 2019, UC Davis reached the Top 10 in four national rankings of universities, including fifth among public universities in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings.

His vision as UC Davis’ seventh chancellor is to lead the university to new heights in academic excellence, inclusion, public service and upward mobility for students from all backgrounds.

May believes success is best judged by how we enhance the lives of others. Throughout his career, he has championed diversity and mentorship in both higher education and the workplace. He developed nationally recognized programs to attract, mentor and retain underrepresented groups in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math. In 2015, President Barack Obama honored May with the Presidential Award for Excellence in STEM Mentoring. In 2021, he received the Lifetime Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an honorary doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology. In 2023, he received the Lifetime Member of the Year award from the National Society of Black Engineers and the Education Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Electron Devices Society for his “dedicated leadership and mentorship that has diversified academic leaders in education.” In 2023, May also partnered with his mentor to establish the "Professor Emeritus Augustine O. Esogbue and Chancellor Gary May Endowed Award in Engineering Diversity" at UC Davis. The endowment will support graduate students who share a passion for excellence and demonstrated commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the field of engineering and computer science.

A prominent voice in higher education, May is a member of the Boyer 2040 Commission, which was created by the Association for Undergraduate Education at Research Universities to design a blueprint for excellence and equity in undergraduate education at U.S. research universities.