When electrical engineering alumnus Joe T. May ’62 was in high school, he says he wasn’t exactly on a path to success.
After a suspension for smoking cigarettes — something that today, May said, “wouldn’t raise an eyebrow,” but did then in the small Mennonite community he lived in — May’s principal allowed him to graduate only if he promised “to do something useful” with his life.
“A couple of people in small ways were very helpful in getting me on track and allowed me to end up getting an engineering degree from Virginia Tech and, frankly, ending up with a career that’s been very satisfying to me, and I think helpful in general,” May said.
It’s one of the reasons May and his family — including his wife, Bobby, and two daughters, Virginia Tech alumna Elaine and University of Virginia alumna Beth — have gifted the College of Engineering $5 million from the May Family Foundation to establish a multiyear program that aims to increase the number of first-generation students in Virginia who enroll at and graduate from Virginia Tech in engineering.
Read the full story via Virginia Tech Engineer, the Virginia Tech College of Engineering’s award-winning alumni magazine