May honored for his distinguished service to the College

From left, Kevin Guskiewicz, Lanier May, Jamie May (holding the special proclamation in his honor) and Sunny Burrows. (photo courtesy of Fire Rose Photography NC).
From left, Kevin Guskiewicz, Lanier May, Jamie May (holding the special proclamation in his honor) and Sunny Burrows. (photo courtesy of Fire Rose Photography NC).

Jamie May, former senior associate dean for development and executive director of the Arts and Sciences Foundation, was awarded the William F. Little Award for Distinguished Service to the College of Arts and Sciences in recognition of his extraordinary leadership and service.

The honor was presented at an Arts and Sciences Foundation board dinner on April 5.

Former employees, board members and deans shared remarks about May. Former Chancellor Holden Thorp, his wife, Patti, and their son, John, joined creative writing professor Bland Simpson in performing three songs as a tribute to May. They performed the title song from the musical King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running, “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line, and a special song, “Jamie,” a re-lyricized version of “Catfish” from Pump Boys & Dinettes.

Dean Kevin Guskiewicz and Arts and Sciences Foundation board chair Sunny Burrows read a proclamation created in May’s honor.

“Jamie is a consummate storyteller, and one of the secrets of being a great storyteller is making an immediate connection with people. It’s also the secret of a great fundraiser,” Guskiewicz said. “Jamie’s stories and deep connections have created a proliferation of gifts over time that keep on giving.”

The proclamation praised May as a “historian, proud veteran, accomplished fundraiser, avid Tar Heel, beloved mentor and staunch advocate for the arts and sciences.” He was also recognized for “respecting and empowering his team, and motivating and inspiring them to strive for excellence, while also possessing the ability to inject lightheartedness, fun and laughter into varied situations.”

May graduated from Davidson College in 1970 with an undergraduate degree in history and earned a master’s in history from Georgia State University in 1976. He served Davidson for nearly two decades in building its fundraising operation.

He joined the Arts and Sciences Foundation in 2001 and served as its associate dean and executive director for more than a decade.

He was lauded for the following accomplishments while serving in that role:

  • Leading the Foundation through an extremely successful Carolina First fundraising campaign that saw the College celebrate consecutive record fundraising years from 2005 to 2008 and surpass its campaign goal, raising $387 million;
  • Paving the way for extensive brick-and-mortar growth in the College during the campaign, helping to raise funds for the FedEx Global Education Center, the Carolina Physical Science Complex, the Kenan Music Building and Winston House in London;
  • Serving as a strong advocate for many innovative programs in the College, including Honors Carolina, entrepreneurship and study abroad;
  • Championing the importance of faculty recruitment and retention, not only involving faculty in building relationships with donors, but by leading a charge that brought 66 endowed professorships to the College during Carolina First.

According to the proclamation, May’s “legacy lives on at the Foundation, through both funds he raised to support faculty, students and programs, and through current Foundation staff members who continue to build on his success and lead [the College] to the next level.”

The Little Award was established in 2009 by the College to recognize Little’s distinguished service and to honor faculty, staff and volunteers who have served the College with extraordinary distinction.

Little was a member of the College faculty for more than 40 years. He was a distinguished chemist and chair of the chemistry department, a former vice president of the UNC system and a visionary leader who helped guide the development of the Research Triangle Park and Research Triangle Institute. He also was one of the founders of the Arts and Sciences Foundation and served on its first board of directors.