Occupation: Director of outreach and alumni affairs at Maryville College
The first year Andrea May went to the Bonnaroo Music Festival, she stayed in a tent. Seven years and seven festivals later, she stayed in an RV and had guest passes.
“I have a group of friends who always go to Bonnaroo, and we have fun. As I’ve gone now for seven years, I’ve gotten wiser,” she says. “The first year, I was in tent and took some Crispix. It was not well-planned. Now we take an RV and run a generator at night to have air conditioning. This year we had guest passes and artist’s credentials.”
May says the one aspect of Bonnaroo she enjoys most is just having the choice of such a wide variety of artists. “Being able to have this agenda in front of you is pretty amazing, such as choosing between Florence the Machine and Ray LaMontagne. I was on the stage for Grace Potter. That was a really cool show and seeing it from that side of things was just crazy. It was amazing.”
May’s family is from Indiana. “I was born outside of Chicago, then we moved back to Indiana, moved to Michigan, moved to Kentucky, moved to Beijing, China and found our way to Tennessee in 1992. I’ve been here since I was in sixth grade,” she says. “My dad, Tim May, works in engineering at Denso.”
When May graduated Maryville High School, she attended the College of Charleston in South Carolina and then the University of Tennessee before she made her way back to Maryville College where she majored in English literature and minored in writing and communications.
“My mom, Dori May, is the librarian, and it was the right place at the right time for me. Having graduated from Maryville High School, and with my mom working at the college, I wanted to spread my wings at first. But as far as studying literature in college and writing a thesis, Maryville College was completely in line with what I wanted it to be,” she says.
After graduation she worked at Blackberry Farm for more than three years where she was involved in event coordinating and marketing. In July, 2010 ,she moved to Maryville College in the position she has now.
“The fun part of my job is I’m an alumna myself, and the people I’m interacting with as far as constituents, I understand where they’re coming from and why they care and want to know what is going on,” she says. “I completely get it and feel the same way. I can’t imagine being in this position without having that appreciation for the college.”
May says she loves Maryville and the hometown feelings she has for the community, but she is intrigued with the thought of living in the big city like New York. “My sister lives in Philadelphia, and it would be fun to be close to her,” she says. “I would want to live somewhere big and come home eventually.”
Here is Andrea May:
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
‘“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,’ from ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.’”
What are you guilty of?
“Worrying too much and overanalyzing things.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“The compass my parents gave me for my college graduation that my Papa, Norb May, carried in World War II.”
What are you reading currently?
“I love used bookstores and have shelves at home filled with books that I’ll eventually get around to reading. I just started ‘Savage Beauty,’ a biography about the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“I am pretty clumsy, definitely a spiller. But the most publicly embarrassing moment would be when I was a student at Maryville College and would constantly fall up the steps walking into the buildings. Books would scatter, I’d lose a shoe - pretty embarrassing.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“Visit every state, fill up my passport with European wanderings, and go on an African safari.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“I hope it would be that I’m loyal. I love my family and friends and would do anything for them.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“Punctuality. It’s almost superhuman how much I think I can accomplish in just 10 minutes. Of course, in reality, it always takes a little bit longer.”
What is your passion?
“I’d say learning - whether through travel, reading, graduate school or conversation. I like to know new and interesting things.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“My mom’s dad, Bill Nelson, who passed away when she was very young. It would be incredible to have a chance to know him.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“America in the 1960s to see the music scene. The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin - it would be amazing.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“I still really like my iPod. I’m pretty serious about my music playlists.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“To be confident in myself and be happy with the person I am.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“My high school English teacher Cynthia Freeman helped me fall in love with words. I always liked books, but her class changed the books I read and how I read them. I was lucky enough to have her as a teacher three times. I became an English literature major in college because I loved her classes so much.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“It wasn’t a terrible job, but bartending while in college was an interesting experience. There are some stories that I could tell.”
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?
“I was a big ‘Winnie the Pooh’ fan. It was just sweet and kind-hearted.”
What irritates you?
“Rudeness. It doesn’t take that much effort to be kind.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“The College Woods on Maryville College’s campus. It’s pretty amazing to have such a large plot of untouched woods in the middle of town.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“Slow down and focus on each day.”
What is your greatest fear?
“Bugs: big, creepy, crawly bugs. They’re just the worst.”
“I still can’t quite get the hang of…
Running for fun. I took up running this past year and ran a half-marathon in April, but it still feels like such a chore.”