William May Jr. Named Dean of School of Music

May 3, 2000

by Larry D. Brumley

Dr. William "Will" Vernon May Jr., a 1969 Baylor graduate and currently interim dean of the College of Music at the University of North Texas, has been appointed dean of Baylor University's School of Music by Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. The appointment, which follows a two-year nationwide search, is effective Aug. 1.

May succeeds Dr. Marvin Lamb, now dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma, and Dr. Donald Bailey, who served as acting dean while continuing his teaching duties as professor of conducting, director of vocal studies, director of choral activities and The Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Music.

"I am extremely pleased with the appointment of Dr. Will May as dean of the School of Music," said Dr. Donald D. Schmeltekopf, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "He comes to us from one of the finest schools of music in the nation, he knows what it takes to have a great school of music, he is committed to Baylor's mission, and he is a Baylor graduate. In addition, he is very personable and has extensive and successful experience in gaining support for music programs. I am confident he will do an excellent job for us."

"The future of the School of Music at Baylor University is very bright," May said. "There is already a collection of tremendous faculty and talented students, two key ingredients for any School of Music. My job is to support them and help them move to the next level."

A Baylor graduate with a bachelor's degree in music education, the native of Louisville, Miss., received his master of music education degree in 1975 from the University of North Texas and earned his doctorate in music education with minors in choral music and educational psychology/statistics from the University of Kansas in 1983. While pursuing his graduate degrees, May was a choral music teacher and director of choral activities in the Dallas Independent School District, receiving several teaching honors. He began his college teaching career as an instructor of music at the University of Kansas in 1979 and chairman of music education at the University of Northern Iowa from 1980-81, before joining the faculty at UNT as a lecturer in 1981. After serving as an assistant professor and associate professor with tenure, May was made a full professor of music in 1995. He served as chairman of the Division of Music Education from 1987-93, associate dean of the College of Music from 1993-99, and interim dean from 1999 to the present. Among his several duties at North Texas were overseeing an $8 million annual operating budget and administering and promoting UNT's almost 1,000 performances and special events each year.

Internationally recognized for his research in music education and for his work as a choral conductor, May has served on the editorial boards of two national publications, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education and the Journal of Research in Music Education. He also is a past president of the Texas Music Educators Association, the first person in a college or university position ever elected to that post, and past president of the Texas Coalition for Music Education, an advocacy group supporting music in public schools. Additionally, through appointment by the Governor of Texas, May served two terms on the Texas Commission on Standards for the Teaching Profession and also chaired several committees on teacher certification and the content of fine arts classes in Texas public schools. He also has authored or edited a number of books, book chapters, articles and research publications, including Something New to Sing About for Young Voices (G. Schirmer), Pronunciation Guide for Choral Literature: French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Spanish (Music Educators National Conference) and A Teacher's Guide to the World's Greatest Music, a source for teachers that accompanies a videotape series produced by Music Educators National Conference. A frequent adjudicator, choral music workshop clinician and choral director, May was minister of music for nine years at First United Methodist Church in Denton.

May and his wife, Ann, have two children, Karen and Jeff, and one grandchild.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?