James M. May, Professor of Classics
Kenneth O. Bjork Distinguished Professor (2014-2017)
(has taught at St. Olaf since 1977)
Office: Tomson Hall 346
Office telephone: 507-786-3238
B.S. Ed. (Latin & English), Kent State University, 1973
Ph.D. (Classics), University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1977
Jim May is the author of many articles and chapters on Cicero, classical rhetoric, and Latin pedagogy, as well as a book entitled Trials of Character: The Eloquence of Ciceronian Ethos, an annotated translation (co-authored with Jakob Wisse) of Cicero’s On the Ideal Orator, two textbooks, 38 Latin Stories and 46 Stories in Classical Greek (both co-authored with Anne Groton), and A Cicero Reader: Selections from Five Essays and Four Speeches with Five Letters. Editor of Brill’s Companion to Cicero: Rhetoric and Oratory, he is currently working on a book for Princeton University Press.
May received the Award for Excellence in the Teaching of the Classics from the American Philological Association (APA) In 1986, and the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award in 1991. He has served the APA on its Board of Directors and as its Vice President for Education and its Vice President for Professional Matters. A former President of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, he has held two NEH Fellowships and directed two NEH Summer Seminars for School Teachers. He served as Provost and Dean of St. Olaf College from 2002 to 2011 and was named Kenneth O. Bjork Distinguished Professor last year (see cake in the photo).
In his spare time May competes in handball, restores antique trucks, cars, and tractors, builds harpsichords, plays baroque instruments, chants (Gregorian-style), and sings in a Renaissance chamber choir. Besides having visited Greece more than 30 times, his greatest claim to fame is having been one of 170 rowers who powered the trireme Olympias, a replica of an ancient Greek warship, around the Aegean Sea in 1990. He is married to Donna, a professional singer, choir director, and high-school music teacher; they have two sons, Joseph (married to Bethany) and Michael (married to Sheila).
Courses in 2015-2016: Semester I = Latin 111 A (Beginning Latin I), Education 349 (Teaching of Latin); Semester II = Greek 253 (New Testament Greek), Latin 374 (Cicero and Latin Prose), Education 389 (Student Teaching Supervision)