Join us for a Lab-wide Town Hall with UC Chancellor Gary May and Lab Director Mike Witherell on Tuesday, August 18, at 1 p.m. at streaming.lbl.gov.
Chancellor May became UC Davis Chancellor in 2017 after three decades at Georgia Tech, where he was Dean of the College of Engineering.
Throughout his career, Chancellor May has championed diversity and mentorship in both higher education and the workplace. He has developed nationally recognized programs to attract, mentor, and retain underrepresented groups in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
Chancellor May will discuss with us his experiences as a Black man with racism and the challenges of achieving equity. He recently wrote:
“Inclusion — like social justice — doesn’t come easily. It requires a collective effort. It requires each one of us working to make a difference, whether that’s through getting involved in your community, peaceful protesting, or doing what you can to change procedures that reflect bias.”
There will be time for questions and answers. You can send them in advance at [email protected] or in chat during the Town Hall.
During a talk earlier this year on “Strengthening Innovation and Social Outcomes,” UC Davis Chancellor Gary May discussed the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd and the impact it had on him.
“At a traffic stop, no one knows I’m Chancellor of UC Davis. No one knows I have a Ph.D. I’m just a Black man in a car.”, he recounted. “As an African American man, there are so many incidents of ‘microaggressions’ that you experience throughout your life and career. Sometimes you become numb to them, but then something like the killing of George Floyd happens and it brings everything back to the forefront.”
May feels this time of unrest provides a unique opportunity to create change and sees mentorship playing an important part. “I think everyone needs some help along the way and to be able to see themselves in these roles.” Success, he says, is best judged by how we enhance the lives of others.
Prior to becoming chancellor of UC Davis, May served as dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering. He was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2018, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2020. In 2010 he was named “Outstanding Engineering Alumnus” of UC Berkeley, where he earned his masters and Ph.D.
In addition to the many accolades for his scholarship, May has been honored for championing diversity and mentorship; in 2015, then-President Barack Obama gave him the Presidential Award for Excellence in STEM Mentoring.
May encourages people to think broadly about diversity, equity, and inclusion. “Think of how society benefits when many diverse perspectives work together to find solutions to our problems,” he said. “And most importantly, think about leading by example. That might mean listening to diverse perspectives or working to recruit diverse workforces or teams. It could also mean using your own gifts to mentor a rising talent.”