Gary May, current professor and chair of the School of ECE, was named Dean of the College of Engineering (CoE) on May 6, 2011, following an international search.
“I am very excited. I think this a dream job. Who wouldn’t want to be the Dean of Engineering at school where they sing about engineering in the fight song?” May said.
May will begin his new position on July 1, succeeding Don Giddens who announced his intentions to retire during the fall semester. Giddens has held the position since 2002.
May, ECE ’85 alum, completed his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of California, Berkeley. May became an assistant professor at Tech in 1991 and a full professor in 2000.
“Dr. May presented a vision of the Institute that resonated with the entire campus community. He articulated how to propel the College of Engineering to the next level, as he stated, ‘into the medal-winning top three.’ Furthermore, he spoke about improving Georgia Tech education, about promoting innovation and creativity and about taking care of our students. All these issues are central to our strategic plan and were enthusiastically received by faculty, staff and students,” said Rafael Bras, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.
After becoming chair in 2005, May focused on increasing minority enrollment, enhancing research opportunities and expanding international presence in the School of ECE, serving over 110 faculty members and 2,400 students. More recently, May oversaw the revamping of the undergraduate curricula in ECE.
“The most important thing we did in our new curriculum was establishing more flexibility for students through more technical elective hours…We need less restrictive requirements and more flexibility. Another important thing we did was establishing a closer coupling between laboratory and lecture experiences. And the final thing was did was implement a richer design experience by making senior design two semesters,” May said.
According to the most recent rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Tech is ranked fifth among undergraduate programs and sixth among graduate programs in electrical engineering. These rankings achieved during May’s chairmanship are the highest placement the School of ECE has ever achieved.
May has also received praise from colleagues throughout the Institute for his ability to bring research money into the department, which now boast a research fund in excess of $100 million annually. May has also begun fund raising for an expansion and renovation of the Van Leer Building, the department’s primary facility.
“I think a big role of the dean is to raise private funds. So I’ll be spending a significant portion of my time speaking with potential supporters of Georgia Tech. And not just restricted to Alumni but it could corporations, it could be alums, it could be friends, it could be people who benefited from the technology we developed to help us to continue to achieve our mission,” May said.
During his time as Chair of ECE, May served on many Institute-wide committees, including the chair of the search committee for a new dean of the College of Computing, which concluded last year. May also served as a member of the strategic plan steering committee and plans to develop a strategic plan for the college.
“I would like to get strategic plan for the College of Engineering that is congruent with the Institute’s Strategic Plan, but has its own unique flavor for engineering,” May said.
During the dean selection process, May advocated the future creation of a Burdell Center to house interdisciplinary capstone design courses and competition teams.
As dean, May will oversee the nation’s largest engineering program that includes 60 percent of the student body.
May was selected out of a list of four finalists. William Wepfer, current Chair of ME, Mark Barteau, Senior Vice Provost for Research and Strategic Initiatives as the University of Delaware, and Dennis Assanis, Director of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute at the University of Michigan were also candidates for the job.
“Consistent with our position as a world leader in science and technology education and research, we conducted an international search for the dean of our College of Engineering. The search committee had the opportunity to review many candidates and was fortunate to identify four extraordinary and talented individuals to participate in public interviews. It was a challenging but clear decision,” Bras said.
“I committed to the goal of moving Georgia Tech to the medal stand. I think this is the best engineering college in the country, so we just have to convince the rest of the country,” May said.