Dr. Carl Clay, BSME ‘60, Hon. D. ‘92 and H. Jane Clay know exactly what it means to go Forward Together because that’s how they’ve successfully lived their lives. Consequently, they have also helped others. Recently, they made a multi-million dollar-gift to name the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Ohio Northern University and to establish an endowed fund, continuing their legacy of support and commitment to educational excellence during this transformational Forward Together campaign.
T.J. Smull College of Engineering Dean, J-D Yoder said the Clays’ latest generous contribution will allow the department to address needs such as new equipment and software purchases, support faculty and students engaged with summer projects, bring insightful speakers to campus and more.
The Clays have been pivotal to helping ONU’s College of Engineering become one of the best in the nation. Over the years, the couple has helped to purchase myriad engineering equipment and software, enabling ONU’s students to learn and innovate with cutting-edge technology. They were also early donors to the campaign to build the James Lehr Kennedy Engineering Building, which opened in fall 2019. Dr. Clay is a Life Trustee at ONU and was a key influencer in the University’s decision to undertake the Campaign for Engineering. He and his wife are lifetime members of the Henry Solomon Lehr Society, which recognizes top donors to the University.
Their recent gift, one of many they’ve given over the years, will greatly impact students, many of whom have and will follow in Dr. Clay’s footsteps.
“Carl and Jane have been long-time, generous supporters of ONU,” says Yoder. “Their latest gift will have a significant impact in making our Mechanical Engineering Department even stronger for generations to come. I am grateful for all they have done for ONU and the College of Engineering, and it is a true pleasure to be able to name the department in honor of Dr. Carl and Mrs. Jane Clay.”
The couple’s support will further enhance a department that is already ranked as one of the top in the country. U.S. News & World Report listed it at No. 21 nationally out of all undergraduate programs. Students enjoy a 100% placement rate in co-op opportunities at prestigious corporations such as Battelle Memorial Institute, Borg Warner Turbo Systems, Honda and others. For the past five years, an average of 95% of mechanical engineering majors found a full-time engineering job or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.
Carl Clay’s career is itself worthy of recognition and accolade. A native of Quincy, Ohio, he enjoyed a 33-year engineering and management career at Marathon Petroleum Corporation, rising through the ranks to hold several leadership positions. He began as an associate engineer in Findlay at Marathon in 1961. In 1972, he was promoted to manager engineering for Marathon’s Transportation organization. In 1977, Carl became western division manager for Marathon Pipe Line, located in Casper, Wyoming. In 1983, he became vice president for Marathon Pipe Line Company. In 1984 he was named president of Marathon Pipe Line Company. In 1990, Carl assumed the role of director of transportation and logistics for Marathon Petroleum Company (which included all of Marathon Pipe Line), and served in this role until his retirement from Marathon in 1994.
While at Marathon, Carl attended the MIT Sloan Business School in 1977, and in 1986 joined Ohio Northern’s Board of Trustees, where he served as an active trustee until 2006. Also, while at Marathon, he was a member of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines and its Executive Committee; the National Petroleum Refiners Association; and the American Petroleum Institute for which he served as Chairman of its Pipeline Transportation Committee. He was a registered professional engineer in the state of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
After retiring from Marathon in 1994, Carl moved to Texas and worked as an industry consultant. His consultancy included an election to the Board of Directors of TEPPCO Limited Partnership from 1995-2022, and he continued to consult until 2010.
While attending ONU, his education was put on hold to serve for two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. After his discharge, Carl met his future wife, Jane. They married two weeks before classes began in 1956. With the G.I. Bill, and Jane’s encouragement and financial support (on her teacher’s salary), he was able to return to campus and earn his degree in May 1960. Jane supported Carl, not only through his college years, and later raising two children, but also in putting her professional aspirations secondary to enable Carl’s career progression.
“My career with Marathon would not have been possible without Jane by my side. I am indebted to her for her support all these years,” says Clay.
“The Clays are special people who believe in giving back to help students achieve their dreams through access to state-of-the-art facilities and programs,” says Vice President for Advancement Shannon Spencer. “We are so thankful for their continued investment in Ohio Northern.”