Ram Fam Reunion - Dr. Brian J. May

ASU’s President reflects on the changes since attending the university

By Aubree Bailey
On October 5, 2017

Photo by Marsalis Mahome
Dr. Brian J. May speaks at Political Science Instructor, Manny Campos’ birthday bash. May can often be seen around campus and San Angelo supporting faculty, staff and students.

This issue’s alumnus is a pillar of the Ram Fam- Dr. Brian J. May, the President of ASU.
After growing up in the small town of Sudan, Texas, near Lubbock, Dr. May moved to San Angelo to pursue a master’s degree in animal science and nutrition.
“Actually, my brother came here first. I came to visit my brother here and decided this was the place for me. Subsequent to that, my sisters followed me.”
Dr. May said he distinctly remembers ASU’s emphasis on family while he was attending.
“I just remember that it was like a family atmosphere much like it is now. I knew my professors, and they knew me. I enjoyed it a lot.”
In addition to his involvement in the agricultural department, Dr. May also played a role in establishing a new organization on campus.
“I was a charter member that helped start an organization called Block and Bridle, and I was on judging teams and worked at the ASU ranch.”
The president reflected positively on the ways the campus has expanded and changed since he first became a part of the Ram Fam.
“I think it’s grown quite a bit. We have a lot of new programs, but a lot of it is still the same. Up until a couple of years ago, I had professors still on campus that I took classes from. A lot of the dynamics and demographics are very similar to when I was here. The campus is just as pretty as it has always been.”
Dr. May praised ASU for preparing him for his career and life.
“I think it gave me critical thinking skills and obviously the necessary discipline knowledge through the courses here to succeed in animal science and agriculture. It also helped me through the organizations learn leadership and life skills, especially people skills and communication and making decisions.”
After obtaining his degree from ASU, Dr. May attended Texas A&M University for a Ph. D. in animal nutrition and physiology, graduating in 1987.
“I started out as soon as I got my Ph. D.,” he comments on his career. “I went to work in the wool and mohair industry. I worked a lot with ranchers and sheep and goat producers, using my knowledge that I gained here. That transitioned to promotion of the fiber in different products. Then I spent a lot of time developing new markets in Russia, China, and promoting products in those areas- that they would use Texas wool and Texas mohair. I worked a lot with elected officials at the federal level, convincing them to support agriculture. All of that helped me as I became president because I still have to conduct a lot of those same duties.”
Dr. May soon returned to the campus, however.
“In ’94, my daughter hid my suitcase; she was tired of me being on the road. So I came back to teaching here at ASU. I’ve been here ever since. I taught at the Agriculture Department. Then I became Dean of the Graduate School. Then I was Vice President of Academic Affairs, and I became President about five years ago.”
Dr. May greatly enjoys being in such an influential position.
“My favorite part of this job is being able to work with people- trying to show not only the students but the employees that we care about everyone here. I enjoy fostering growth and change to make ASU better.”
Dr. May had sage advice for students: “Success will come to folks who work hard and care about the ones are around them, and to remember that family is first.”

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