Hundreds of people filled the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist for the funeral of Art May, former president of Memorial University.

University orator Shane O'Dea said May didn't buy into the pessimism abundant during his time as president of the university from 1990 to 1999.

O'Dea said May instead opted to kickstart one of Memorial's biggest fundraising campaigns up to that point.

"By that kind of crazy act, triumph of hope over experience, he rebuilt the sense of Memorial's connection into the people of Newfoundland, but also on the campus itself," he said.

May was 76 years old when he died last week.