Francis (Frank) B. May, a longtime faculty member and emeritus professor of the information, risk, and operations management department passed away on January 12, 2007. He was 91 years young at the time of his death.
He was born on December 24, 1915, to James M. and Hallye Rice May in Cascilla, Mississippi. Besides Frank, the family initially consisted of two brothers, Jim and Joe, and a sister, Margaret.
Dr. May attended Corsicana High School in Texas from 1928 to 1932. He entered The University of Texas at Austin as a freshman in 1934, pursuing a B.B.A. degree with majors in statistics and mathematics. He took a leave from his undergraduate education from 1938 until 1940 to work as an office manager for the Texas Mutual Reserve Life Insurance Company and the Tower Mutual Life Insurance Company. He returned to UT in 1940 and, in August 1941, received his B.B.A. degree with highest honors. During his pursuit of his B.B.A. degree, he became members of Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Eta Sigma.
Immediately following his graduation in 1941, Frank was admitted to and enrolled in the M.B.A. program in the College and Graduate School of Business at UT. The Department of Business Services in the College and Graduate School of Business hired Frank as an instructor of statistics, a position he held until his graduation with an M.B.A. degree in 1943.
During World War II, from 1943 to 1946, Dr. May served in the United States Army Air Force. According to one record, he went “directly” from private to captain and was honorably discharged in 1946.
He returned to UT in 1946, working as a statistician in the Office of the President, a position he held through 1954. In 1947, the Department of Business Services appointed Frank as an assistant professor to teach business statistics and his trademark courses throughout his academic career on sampling techniques and business forecasting.
It was during this period that Dr. May began his studies and completion of his Ph.D. program, awarded in 1957. In 1958, he was promoted to associate professor and, in 1961, to professor. Just prior to this promotion, in 1960, he received an appointment as a visiting professor of statistics at the University of Minnesota. During his graduate studies, he became a member of Sigma Iota Epsilon.
Frank was an important contributor to the Bureau of Business Research at UT. He served as a research scientist for the bureau from 1954 to 1957 and as a statistician for the bureau from 1958 to 1964. He was a regular contributor to numerous bureau publications, particularly the Texas Business Review
From 1961 to 1971, Dr. May was a member of the board of directors of the San Antonio branch of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank and served as chairman of the board in 1968 and 1970. During 1964-68, Frank served as chairman of the Department of General Business (formerly the Department of Business Services).
During the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. May served on numerous departmental, college, and university committees. He also made numerous media presentations and speeches, supervised graduate students, and served as a consultant. All of these activities were in addition to his teaching, publication, and performance of academic and professional administrative duties. The following are representative of his activities.
||He served on numerous committees in the department, college, and university, including the Graduate Assembly (Graduate Legislative Council), Library Committee, CBA Honors Committee (chairman of the committee to establish the CBA Honors Program), M.B.A. Revision Committee, chair of the CBA Core Curriculum Committee, the department’s budget council, and the department graduate faculty.
||Frank made a remarkable number of speeches and radio and television broadcasts. His radio presentations were carried by about 60 stations throughout the state of Texas. He was constantly invited to give speeches before such groups as the Austin Rotary Club, Austin Lions Club, Austin Chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants, Austin Mortgage Bankers, Texas Rehabilitation Association, Social Science Club, and the Business Administration Club of Dallas.
||He was sought out as a consultant by a law firm, the attorney general of the state of Texas (also as an expert witness), Southland Corporation, Humble Oil and Refining Corporation, and Governor John C. Connally on oil import problems.
||Dr. May loved teaching and supervising graduate students. He was chairman of a number of Ph.D. student committees and master theses, and he also served on dozens of Ph.D. supervisory committees (as of 1962, 25). In 1971, he received the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Association of Doctoral Students of The University of Texas Graduate School of Business.
||In addition to chairing the board of directors of the San Antonio branch of the Dallas Federal Reserve for two years and serving as chairman of the Department of General Business for four years, Dr. May was elected chairman and editor of the Business Research Section of the Southwestern Social Science Association. In 1968, after serving as vice president and first vice president, he was elected as president of the Southwestern Social Science Association.
||He belonged to numerous professional associations and honor societies. He was particularly proud of his membership in the American Statistical Association and served as a member of the council and president of the Austin chapter of this association.
||In addition to his numerous Bureau of Business Research publications, he also published books such as Introduction to Games of Strategy published by Allyn and Bacon in 1970, a reading for a book, and articles for learned journals such as the Southwestern Social Science Quarterly.
In 1986, Dr. May officially retired from UT as required by then-existing Regents’ Rules
upon reaching age 70. Because of his love of teaching statistics, he requested to be appointed on modified service. He made this request every year thereafter and was granted “modified service” status from September 1986 until May 1993. Due to his length of service (26 years as a professor) and the numerous contributions he had made, Dr. May was appointed as professor emeritus on September 1, 1997.
Frank enjoyed the people he associated with. Each week he would bring a grocery bag of bakery goods to the departmental office for the staff and doctoral students. Some faculty still remember how high he “waisted” his pants, how his office resembled a disaster area, the courtesy with which he addressed people, and his taste for a good cigar.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Dr. Janice C. May (professor emeritus in government). His parents, his brothers, sister, half-brother, and half sister predeceased him.