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Selected as the seventh chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District, Dr. Joe May assumed his duties at DCCCD in late February 2014. Throughout his career, May has expanded opportunities for students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree by starting at a community college. At the same time, he brings a strong commitment to improving the Dallas economy by helping to grow middle-class jobs. He is known both nationally and internationally as a result of his relentless advocacy for the role of community colleges in solving today’s most challenging social issues.
As the first member of his family to attend college, the chancellor realized the profound impact that higher education had not only on his life but also on society in general. This background inspired May to help start and then to become the founding president of Rebuilding America’s Middle Class (RAMC), a national consortium of community colleges that is dedicated to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to pursue the “American dream.”
During May’s seven years as president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, enrollment increased from 71,000 to more than 160,000 students. As a community leader and educator, he strongly believes in achieving academic excellence and has worked closely with public school districts, sponsored charter schools, career academies and early college programs.
A hallmark of his approach to leading community colleges is the creation of public-private partnerships. By forming these partnerships, May has helped jump-start new economic investment and job creation.
Respected throughout the world, May has delivered consulting services to new community college initiatives in Japan, the United Kingdom, Russia and Saudi Arabia. As the system president for the Colorado Community College System, he provided leadership for 13 colleges that enrolled 116,000 students throughout the state. Prior to that role, he served as the president of Pueblo Community College. He also served in leadership roles at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas; Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas; and Vernon College in Vernon, Texas.
A native of East Texas, Dr. May earned his doctorate in education from Texas A&M-Commerce; he also holds Master of Education and Bachelor of Science degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Both of his children were born in Texas, and he now has a daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren who live in Garland, Texas.
Dr. Joe May started his higher education career in 1978 as an adjunct faculty member at Cedar Valley College in the Dallas County Community College District. Those initial experiences were the foundation for his strong belief that community colleges provide the solution for the greatest challenges facing individuals, employers and communities.