June 20, 2013
May School of Nursing and Allied Health groundbreaking held June 20

Lees-McRae is proud to announce the official groundbreaking for the May School of Nursing and Allied Health was held on Thursday, June 20 in Stinson Parking Lot on West Main Street. Designed by McMillian Pazdan Smith, this 18,000 square foot facility will soon be the cornerstone of the college’s expanded science and health-related programs.

The ceremony included remarks by Barry M. Buxton, President of Lees-McRae; Rick Owen, Banner Elk Town Manager; and Glenn John, Avery County Commissioner. Additionally, the college was blessed to welcome Daniel and Dianne May, generous benefactors of the project, to campus for the ceremony. Dan and Dianne reside outside of Naples, Fla. but maintain a residence in Linville Ridge as well. Dianne is also an active member of the Lees-McRae Board of Trustees and sits on the Enrollment Management and Communications committee.

“Today we are declaring to build and implement a school of nursing and allied health on the campus of Lees-McRae College,” said Caroline Hart, vice president of advancement, in her opening remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony. “[Today] we are celebrating on the very site of the May School of Nursing and Allied Health.”

“The sacred flame that burned in the heart of [our founders] Edgar and Bessy Tufts has not died,” said President Barry M. Buxton during the groundbreaking ceremony. “That sacred flame lives on in the heart of another couple – Dan and Dianne May - who have recognized that Lees-McRae cannot succeed in a highly competitive higher education environment without first class facilities. Without the passion, the dedication and the foresight of this extraordinary couple the new school of nursing and allied health at Lees-McRae would not be possible.”

“We’re just so happy we were able to help Lees-McRae and the community,” said Dianne May, trustee and benefactor for the May School of Nursing and Allied Health. “It will be a revitalization of the campus. We can see such progress and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. It is just wonderful.”

In addition to their generosity for the May School of Nursing and Allied Health, the May family has also contributed to Lees-McRae through new roof construction and sidewalks as well as landscaping and energy conservation. The Mays also donated funds for the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, which opened its doors in May 2012 and has since helped with the rehabilitation of more than 1,000 animals in the past year.

The state-of-the-art May School of Nursing and Allied Health will provide classrooms, lab space and technology specific to the nursing and allied health curriculum. Lees-McRae currently offers science programs such as biology with concentrations in nutrition and health science. The health science curriculum prepares students for graduate schools in the areas of dentistry, medical, pharmacy, physician assistant and veterinarian studies. Additionally, the college offers allied health programs such as athletic training (accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education).

“[Banner Elk] is very excited about this project,” said Rick Owen ’00, Banner Elk Town Manager. “I am not only excited as town manager, but also as an alumnus. I feel sure that this building and program will soon be added to the list of all the reasons our community is so admired by others.”

Based on student interest, marketplace demand and the generous donation from Daniel and Dianne May, Lees-McRae is moving forward with a pre-licensure nursing program and considering the addition of allied health programs in healthcare administration and emergency care management.

Interested students should contact the Admissions office at 800-280-4LMC or regarding enrollment as early as fall 2013.

View photos from the ceremony

Media Contact:

Blaine Hansen  |  Vice President of Strategic Planning and Effectiveness
Tel: 828.898.8838  |  Email:
President Buxton, benefactors Dan and Dianne May, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Harvey Lowd
May School benefactors Dan and Dianne May, and President Barry Buxton
President Buxton with the architects of the May School from McMillan Pazdan Smith.
Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, McNair Tornow, President Buxton, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Harvey Lowd