Ask the Chancellor

Gary and LeShelle May


In an October issue of Staff Voice we posed the survey question "If you had five minutes to talk to Chancellor May, one-on-one, what would you discuss?" We received over 100 responses. Chancellor May, and his wife LeShelle, answer a few of them below.



1.      What is the most important aspect of leadership that a leader should always be conscious of developing? 

Gary May: "As a leader, it’s vital to be a good listener, and it’s just as important to be accessible, responsive and open. It’s more than just adopting those ideals; you have to take an active role in fulfilling those aspects of leadership. "


2.      What are his ideas for developing and promoting the UC Davis story to audiences that are not aware of our expertise and excellence?

Gary May: "I expect that we’ll get some ideas about how to do this through our Strategic Planning effort, and I encourage staff to participate in sessions that will be held over the next few months. In order to do this well, we’ll need the support and participation of the entire UC Davis community. Staff can write to to submit ideas for the Strategic Plan. In the meantime, we’ve got a number of plans underway to focus on our core strengths and promote those nationwide and internationally. Those core areas include our expertise in advancing global health and strengthening connections between humans, animals, and our environment; feeding a growing world; communicating what we know about climate and science and what we’re doing to help mitigate the impacts of climate change in a variety of areas; and talking about how we are driven by curiosity in a number of key areas."

3.      Can the campus provide a sign language interpreter for large events, such as Future Forward, Investiture, and others? 

Gary May: "UC Davis has vendors who provide American Sign Language interpretation services, and we typically bring someone to interpret when a request is made to do so. Our Ceremonies & Special Events team makes requests for sign language services as needed, including for commencement ceremonies. In addition, we provide closed captioning for post-event videos that are posted online."

4.      Siri, Alexa, and other electronic assistants all seem to be female unless programmed otherwise, does Mrs. May have any ideas on how this could be changed in the future as to break the female assistant stereotype with young girls? 

LeShelle May: "Very interesting question, I never thought of the default female voice of Siri and Alexa as a negative because women are such a powerful multi-tasking resource. In fact, I would bet some women from Google and/or Apple rallied behind having the default voice be a woman. However, I do understand your point about the industry not understanding a woman’s perspective and I think this will change for the better as more women study engineering and computer science. With an increase of women in the technological workforce we can raise the awareness as well as 'the bar.'"


If you have a question that you would like to ask Chancellor May, please submit your question to