James W. May Jr. ' 70
When James W. May, Jr. applied for admission to Davidson College, he was asked to list his career aspirations. Jamie indicated his desire to become 1) a high school teacher and coach, 2) involved in foreign service or the diplomatic corps, and 3) a college professor or administrator. In true Jamie May fashion, once those goals were set, there was no turning back.
Jamie was a diligent and involved student, serving as a Quips & Cranks staff member, hall counselor, treasurer and president of the Union Board, ROTC cadet, member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and non-fiction editor of Miscellany. After graduating with a degree in history, Jamie was commissioned and began his military service with the U.S. Army in Maryland. He then served in Long Binh, South Vietnam in 1971 and 1972. His goal of “foreign service” may not have turned out exactly as he had planned, but Jamie showed his leadership and devotion to the United States and was awarded a Bronze Star in 1972.
Jamie left military service and began working as a high school teacher and varsity coach in and around Atlanta. He undertook those roles with his usual dedication, winning both teaching awards and recognition as the Atlanta Track and Club Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1979. He then earned a masters degree in history from Georgia State University. There remained, therefore, only one career challenge to be met. Jamie returned to his beloved alma mater in 1982 as Director of Alumni Relations. Neither Jamie nor Davidson would ever be the same.
Jamie served Davidson in several positions of increasing responsibility, culminating in his appointment in 1997 as Vice President for College Relations. During his nearly twenty years in administrative positions, he came to be known and loved by generations of alumni, respected by his colleagues at other schools and revered by his peers at Davidson. He coordinated the institution’s successful Campaign for Davidson, at the time, the most ambitious fundraising effort ever undertaken by Davidson College. After that effort resulted in $163 million in commitments, he joined with the Davidson College trustees and president to begin the planning and implementation of the $250 million Let Learning Be Cherished campaign. In 2000 Jamie left Davidson to join the University of North Carolina as the Executive Director of that institution’s Arts and Sciences Foundation.
Any classmate will tell you that Jamie May is the glue that holds the class of ' 70 together. As class secretary for years, a member of several reunion committees and through various other volunteer positions, he has kept classmates up to date on each others’ lives. It is worth noting that the class of 1970 has broken almost every attendance record for reunions, in large part due to Jamie's encouragement of his classmates. His daughter, Rachel, graduated from alma mater in 2004. Indeed, Jamie has truly left a memorable legacy at Davidson
It was Plutarch who wrote that, “When men are arrived at the goal, they should not turn back.” Because you have achieved your goals and still refuse to “turn back,” because you have given so many years of loyal service to Davidson College and because you have shared with this institution your devotion, your energy, your intelligence, your sense of humor and even your flesh and blood, the Davidson College Alumni Association honors you, James W. May, Jr., with the Alumni Service Award on the occasion of your 35th Reunion, 30th of April, 2005.