Willie thanking the examiners of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program for their service at the annual examiner recognition event in April of 2015. Click on the photo to learn more about the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.

Dr. Willie May as a key note speaker talking with Cassandra Spencer at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, AL in September 2014 on the importance of STEM careers for meeting the next generation technology needs for better and greater US economic growth and competitiveness domestically and abroad.

Willie was confirmed as the NIST Director and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology on May 4, 2015 by Secretary Penny Pritzker, pictured here (L-R) Willie’s son Eric, his wife Jeannie, Willie, Willie’s uncle, Rufus Daniels, Secretary Pritzker, and Willie’s daughter Jeanniece.

At a meeting of the Organic Analytical Working Group of the Consultative Committee on Metrology in Chemistry & Biology, for which Willie is now President, in Beijing China in 1999 at the National Institute of Metrology China, Willie obliged Chinese acrobats when invited to be suspended in a barrel between the feet of one of the acrobats who then proceeded to rotate the barrel while Willie sat within!

Willie at press conference on January 29, 2015 announcing a new public-private partnership, along with the National Football League (NFL), GE, and Under Armour, to launch an open innovation competition to advance materials that better absorb or dissipate energy. The announcement was made at a news conference in Phoenix as part of the NFL’s larger annual health and safety presentation for reporters prior to the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 1.

Willie with attendees from the NIST 2016 Black History Month Celebration. As the NIST Director, Willie hosted Dr. William Lester, Jr., from the Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley who spoke about his professional start in theoretical chemistry at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST)!

Willie greeting Congressman John Lewis several years ago on Capitol Hill in the presence of summer interns from around the country.

Chris Van Hollen talking with Willie at a reception recognizing young researchers at NIST a few years ago.

Willie lecturing to the Chemical Metrology Division of the Health sciences Authority of the Singapore Government on the importance of chemistry in innovation and technology development for the biomedical health sciences in 2009. He was hosted by John Lim, CEO, and Lee Tong Kooi, Division and Laboratory Director.

Academic Record

Knoxville College, B.S. (1968)
University of Maryland, Ph.D. (1977)

Notable Honors

ACS Public Service Award, 2017
One of four Keynote Speakers for Opening Session, 2016
ACS Fall National Meeting;  Cover Story, C&E News, June 15, 2015
Selected as an ACS Fellow, 2011
Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Analytical Chemistry Award, ACS, 2001
Laboratory Director of the Year, Federal Laboratory Consortium, 2016
Honorary Doctor of Science, University of Alabama Huntsville, 2016
Honorary Doctor of Science, Wake Forest University, 2012
First Class of Inductees, Knoxville College Alumni Hall of Fame, 2010
University of Maryland College of Chemical and Life Sciences Alumnus of the Year Award, 2007
Henry Hill Award for Exemplary Work and Leadership in the Field of Chemistry, NOBCChE, 2005
Science Spectrum Magazine Emerald Award, 2005
Council for Chemical Research Diversity Award, 2005
Percy Julian Award for Outstanding Research in Organic Analytical Chemistry, NOBCChE, 1992
Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Federal Executive, 1992
Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Achievement in Federal Service, 1992
Arthur Flemming Award for Outstanding Federal Service, 1986
Department of Commerce Silver Medal Award for Meritorious Federal Service, 1985
National Bureau of Standards (NBS) Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award, 1982
Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service, 1981

Career Highlights

Senate-Confirmed Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and 15th Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland (May 2014 - January 2017)

Chair, Toxic Substance Control Committee

Co-Chair, National Commission on Forensic Science (May 2014 – January 2017)
Acting NIST Director,  (June 2014 - May 2015)
NIST Associate Director for Laboratory Programs (August 2011 - June 2014)
Director, NIST Material Measurement Laboratory (2010 - 2011)
Director, NIST Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory (2004 - 2010)

Related Activities

Keynote Speaker, Winter Commencement Ceremonies, College of Life Sciences, University of Maryland College Park, 2002
Commencement Speaker, Wake Forrest University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 2012
Keynote Speaker, Winter Commencement Ceremonies, University of Maryland, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, 2015
Ralph Metcalfe Lecturer, Marquette University, 2016
Fall Commencement Speaker for the University of Alabama Huntsville, 2016

ACS Service

Committee on Minority Affairs, 1993 - 2000
Chair, 1996 -1998
ACS President’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Minority Affairs, 1994 - 2004
ACS Member since 1979

Other Current Professional Memberships/Responsibilities

National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE)
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Vice President of the 18-person International Committee on Weights and Measures (CIPM)
President of the CIPM's Consultative Committee on Metrology in Chemistry and Biology Executive Board Member

May, Willie E.

Chemical Society of Washington Section
Director, Special Research and Training Initiatives, College of Computer, Mathematical and the Natural Sciences,
University of Maryland, College Park

Emeritus Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Former Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology

Notable Publications & Talks

May, W. E., Chesler, S. N., Cram, S. P., Gump, B. H., Hertz, H. S., Enagonio, D. P., and Dyszel, S. M., "Chromatographic Analysis of Hydrocarbons in Marine Sediments and Sea Water," J. Chromatog. Sci. 13, 535-540 (1975).

May, W. E., Wasik, S. P., and Freeman, D. H., "The Aqueous Solubility Behavior of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons," Anal. Chem. 50, 997 (1978).

Sonnefeld, W. J., Zoller, W. H., and May, W. E., "A Dynamic Coupled-Column Liquid Chromatographic Method for Determination of Vapor Pressures of Organic Compounds," Anal. Chem. 55, 275-280 (1983).

May, W. E. and Wise, S. A., "Liquid Chromatographic Determination of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in AirParticulate Extracts," Anal. Chem. 56, 225-232 (1984)

Foley, J. P. and May, W. E., "Optimization of Secondary Chemical Equilibria in Liquid Chromatography: Theory and Verification," Anal. Chem. 59, 102-109 (1987).

Plant, A. L., Locascio, L. E., May, W. E., Gallagher, P. D., "Improved Reproducibility by Assuring Confidence in Measurements in Biomedical Research," Nature Methods Commentary, 11(9) (Sep – 2014)

Sponsored by The Willie May for ACS President-Elect Committee

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