Willie May

Vice President, Department of Research & Economic Development, Morgan State University


Willie E. May currently serves as vice president for research and economic development at Morgan State University where he will be working to aggressively increase the quality and quantity of research outputs, facilitate increased tech transfer, and better connect research across Maryland’s preeminent urban research university to community needs.

Immediately prior to Morgan, May served as director of major research and training initiatives for the College of Computer, Mathematical and the Natural Sciences at University of Maryland College Park where he developed new relationships and expanded existing partnerships with corporations, foundations, and government agencies, and assisted the college in obtaining additional support for graduate student education, training, and mentoring.

May previously served as director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and under eecretary of commerce for Standards and Technology, a position created in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010. As the under secretary, May provided high-level oversight and day-to-day leadership for NIST, the agency that promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. May began as a bench chemist and went on to work at every management level within the organization. His personal research activities were focused in the areas of trace organic analytical chemistry and physico-chemical properties of organic compounds, where his work is described in more than 90 peer-reviewed technical publications. He has given more than 250 invited lectures at conferences and symposia around the world.

May currently serves on the board of directors for Consumer Reports and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation’s Innovation Initiative. He also serves on the NASA Advisory Council’s Science Committee. Until recently May maintained several international leadership responsibilities as well. In March 2019, he stepped down as vice president of the International Committee on Weights and Measures (CIPM). He was also president of the CIPM’s Consultative Committee on Metrology in Chemistry and Biology, and was a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards for the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL), and China’s National Institute of Metrology (NIM).

May earned his B.S in chemistry from Knoxville College and his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park. His numerous honors and awards include: Honorary Doctorates from Wake Forrest University and the University of Alabama Huntsville; American Chemical Society’s Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Analytical Chemistry Award and Public Service Award; Department of Commerce’s Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medal Awards; National Institute of Standards and Technology Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award; and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers’ Percy Julian Award. In 2015, he was recognized as the federal government’s “Top Chemist” by Chemical and Engineering News Magazine and, in 2016, was recognized by the Federal Laboratory Consortium as “Laboratory Director of the Year.”