Education

UC Davis celebrates new chancellor in formal ceremony, with ‘Star Trek’ references aplenty

New UC Davis Chancellor Gary May, left, is given a new hood with the UC Davis colors by UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang, and President Emeritus Georgia Institute of Technology Wayne Clough during May's Investiture ceremony at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in Davis on Friday.
New UC Davis Chancellor Gary May, left, is given a new hood with the UC Davis colors by UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang, and President Emeritus Georgia Institute of Technology Wayne Clough during May's Investiture ceremony at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts in Davis on Friday. rbenton@sacbee.com

Gary S. May was formally installed Friday as the seventh UC Davis chancellor in front of about 700 people at Mondavi Center with traditional speeches and pomp and circumstance.

But jokes about May’s passion for “Star Trek” – delivered by him and others – and numerous references to his family made the “investiture” ceremony seem almost intimate.

After UC President Janet Napolitano presented May with the Chancellor’s Medal and helped him into his ceremonial UC Davis hood, May used his address to thank his family and everyone who helped him throughout his life.

“In the South, there’s an expression that goes like this: If a turtle is sitting on a fence post, it didn’t get there by itself. Somebody helped the turtle,” May said.

May, formerly Georgia Tech’s engineering dean, officially started work on Aug. 1. He is paid $495,000 annually, which includes $75,000 raised privately for an endowed chair, making him the fourth-highest-paid chancellor in the system, based on UC records.

The chancellor gave few specifics about his plans in his address. May said he will continue to work with Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg to establish a technology center in the city and that he has started to work on a strategic plan for the university titled “To Boldly Go,” a reference that “Star Trek” fans can appreciate.

FILE - UC Davis Chancellor Gary May discusses why he believes colleges should have more diversity after his unanimous confirmation to the position by UC regents in early 2017.

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert

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