Born May Louise Hinton-Wykle in Martins Ferry, Ohio to John R and Florence A. Randall, she earned her nursing diploma in 1956 and was the first African-American to attend the Ruth Brant School of Nursing in Martins Ferry, Ohio. In 1962 she pursued her bachelor's degree in nursing, and then in 1969 she went to Case Western Reserve University to earn her master's degree in psychiatric nursing and her PhD in nursing, where her teachers were so impressed with her, they asked her to join the faculty. She has been a faculty member there since. The school's Board of Trustees also created the May L. Wykle Endowed Professorship, to recognize her many contributions to nursing and healthcare leadership.
Dr. Wykle is recognized nationally as an expert in the field of aging. She has done research in the areas of mental and physical health, spirituality among older adults, self-care activities of caregivers and elders, including health promotion, care-giving across the life span, HIV-related care-giving, black-versus-white caregivers and minority elder health. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and The Gerontological Society of America, a former Director of a Robert Wood Johnson Teaching Nursing Home Project, and a recipient of a Geriatric Mental Health Academic Award from the National Institute of Mental Health. Since joining Case Western Reserve University in 1969, she has held various teaching and research positions including a joint appointment as Director of Nursing at Hanna Pavilion of University Hospitals of Cleveland, Chairperson of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and Dean of nursing at the Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing.
In 1993, Dr. Wykle was a delegate and served on the Planning Committee of the White House Conference on Aging.
Dr. Wykle was the first recipient of the "Pope Eminent Scholar" at the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving]] in 1999 and still serves on the Board of Directors.
In 1999, Dr. Wykle was elected President of The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.
In 2011, Sigma Theta Tau announced that Dr. Wykle would be inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. In this same year, she served as the President of the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research.
- 2010 American Nurses Association's Mary Mahoney Award
- 2009 Case Western Reserve University Distinguished Alumni Award
- 2000 Doris Schwartz Nursing Research Award from the Gerontological Society of America
- 1999 The Belle Sherwin Award for Distinguished Nursing Professional of the Year from the Cleveland Visiting Nurse Association
- 1999 The Leadership Award for Excellence in Geriatric Care from the Midwest Alliance in Nursing
- 1999 Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Nursing Profession
- 1992 The Outstanding Researcher in the State of Ohio from the Ohio Research Council on Aging
- 1985 NIMH Geriatric Mental Health Academic Award
- Wykle, M. L., & Gueldner, S. H. (2010). Aging Well: Gerontological Education for Nurses. Sadbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning
- Wykle, M.L., Whitehouse, P.J., Morris, D.L., (2004). Successful Aging Through the Life Span. New York, NY: Springer Publishing
- Wykle, M. L., & Ford, A. B. (1999). Serving Minority Elders in the 21st Century. New York, NY: Springer Publishing
- Wykle, M.L., Kahana, E., Biegel, D.E., (1994). Family Caregiving Across the Lifespan. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications
- Who's Who Among African Americans. (2011). Retrieved October 14, 2011, from http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G2-2509920136.html
- Williams, S. (2007). From "Small-Town Girl" to Pioneering Nurse Educator. In Minority Nurse. Retrieved October 14, 2011, from http://www.minoritynurse.com/minority-nurse-leaders/small-town-girl-pioneering-nurse-educator
- "Health care advocate, May L. Wykle - Cleveland Business News - Northeast Ohio and Cleveland - Crain's Cleveland Business". Crainscleveland.com. 2009-05-04. http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20090504/HEROES09/305049989. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
- The Art and Soul of Nursing. (n.d.). In Bolton School of Nursing. Retrieved October 14, 2011, from http://fpb.case.edu/artandsoul/wykle.shtm
- May Wykle, PhD, RN, FAAN. Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, 2011. Web. 22 Oct. 2011. <http://www.rosalynncarter.org/may_wykle_phd_rn_faan/>.
- CWRU Dean May Wykle to Join Nurse Researchers in International Hall of Fame. PR Newswire, 6 July 2011. Web. 22 Oct. 2011. <http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cwru-dean-may-wykle-to-join-nurse-researchers-in-international-hall-of-fame-125070639.html>.
- The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. Ed. Rachel McLaughlin. N.p., 11 Apr. 2011. Web. 22 Oct. 2011. <http://www.nursingsociety.org/Media/Pages/Hall_of_Fame_2011.aspx>.
- Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research. N.p., 2011. Web. 22 Oct. 2011. <http://www.fninr.org/about.html>.