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Chancellor's Biography

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 improve 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.” 

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 leadership approach for community colleges is the creation of public-private partnerships. By forming these partnerships, May has helped jump-start new economic investment and job creation through organizations like RAMC as well as COMBASE. COMBASE is a consortium of many leading community and technical colleges across the United States whose members are dedicated to sharing innovative solutions to meet the challenges of the nation’s rapidly-changing economy. May serves on its board of directors as president.

DCCCD’s chancellor also is directly involved in building community college and business partnerships that enhance success for both students and businesses. He was influential in bringing the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program to Dallas (DCCCD teaches the education modules to new business owners) as well as a significant grant from JPMorgan Chase for Project On-Ramp, which trains certified nurse assistants to become patient care technicians so that they are able to earn up to 20 percent higher salaries.

May previously served as president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System; system president for the Colorado Community College System; and president of Pueblo Community College before he accepted the system’s CEO position. Respected throughout the world, May has delivered consulting services to new community college initiatives in Japan, the United Kingdom, Russia and Saudi Arabia. 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 the role of community colleges is the solution for the greatest challenges facing individuals, employers and communities.