The pomp and circumstance of the event was mainly for university trustees, staff, donors, alumni and friends, but the importance of his family was a key theme with his wife LaShelle and their two daughters given time to speak.
"One of these young ladies posted something negative about us on Facebook and for the following seven days, you made one of these ladies post, 'I love my parents because...'" LaShelle May said.
May is nationally recognized for championing minority and women participation in the sciences and engineers at his alma mater, Georgia Tech. He says he'll continue that work at UC Davis.
"We're committed to diversity because it's integral to our success," May said.
Along with some serious academic chops, May is known to be a big Star Trek fan and comic book collector.
"Who will stand in the way of a university where no university has gone before? Resistance is futile," he said with a laugh. "God bless you, god bless UC Davis, live long and prosper."
May says the tradition is important but so is letting people know what they getting.
"We also have to make people glad they were here and engage them, so I try to inject a little humor and share a little bit of myself with the community," May said.
If history is any indication, Chancellor May will have a long run at UC Davis. Either way, his tenure has gotten off to a good start.