Willie May

The history and current state of scientific research being done at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is the topic of this year’s Vice President for Research Distinguished Lecture.

Willie E May, vice president for research and economic development at Morgan State University, will present the lecture at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 11 via Zoom.

His talk titled “Research at HBCUs and the Morgan State University Enterprise” will provide an overview of the research enterprise at HBCUs and MSU. Topics that will be covered include the history of HBCUs and MSU, funding for research at HBCUs and MSU, and the current academic programs and research focus areas at MSU.  May will also discuss research productivity during COVID-19, MSU’s Innovation and Tech Transfer Program, and MSU’s draft 10-year strategic plan.

Most HBCUs were established in the mid to late 1860s to provide education for the recently freed slaves. Research was not part of their initial remit. Today, there are 100 HBCUs and most were initially and still are located below the Mason-Dixon line. The U.S. currently has 260 institutions of higher education that are considered to be research universities. Among those, only 12 HBCUs are classified as Carnegie R2 universities with no current HBCU classified as an R1.

MSU is located in Baltimore, Md. Founded in 1867, it has provided education to students of all races and ethnicities, although most of the students are from underserved populations. Of MSU’s 7,700 students, 78% are African Americans and 90% are on financial aid.

Over the past 30 years, MSU has transformed itself into the state’s preeminent public urban research university, contributing approximately $1 billion per year of economic impact to the state of Maryland with $640 million a year directly impacting Baltimore. The university’s research efforts give significant priority to addressing societal problems, particularly those prevalent in urban communities.

Prior to joining MSU, May served as the director of major research and training initiatives for the College of Computer, Mathematical and the Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he developed new relationships and expanded existing partnerships with corporations, foundations and government agencies.

May previously served as the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology.

Over the course of his career, he has been published in more than 90 peer-reviewed technical publications and given more than 300 invited lectures at conferences and symposia around the world.

To attend this lecture, join via Zoom.