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Clay Mathile

Ohio Northern University will celebrate its 2012 undergraduate commencement ceremony in the ONU Sports Center on Sunday, May 13, 2012, at 2 p.m. Approximately 600 students will be awarded degrees. ONU alumnus Dr. Clayton L. Mathile, BA ’62, Hon. D. ’91, ACIT ’09, will deliver the commencement address. Megan Piersol, a senior history major from Warren, Ohio, will be the student speaker during the commencement ceremony.

Ohio Northern University’s 2012
undergraduate commencement speaker
Clayton Mathile, BA ’62, Hon. D. ’91, ACIT ’09.
Mathile is the former CEO and owner
of The Iams Company and the founder
and chairman of the board of Aileron, a
nonprofit foundation.

Commencement day activities will begin with a presentation of the Dankook award in the McIntosh Center activities room on Sunday, May 13, at 9 a.m. The Raabe College of Pharmacy hooding ceremony will take place in the ONU Sports Center at 10 a.m. Doors to the ONU Sports Center will open for the commencement ceremony Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Guests should arrive by 1 p.m. The musical prelude will begin at 1:30 p.m., followed by the procession of faculty and students.

About the speaker: Clayton “Clay” Mathile, BA ’62, Hon. D. ’91, ACIT ’09, was born Jan. 11, 1941, in Portage, Ohio. He himself paid for his freshman-year tuition at Ohio Northern University, and was a walk-on for the University’s basketball team. While initially a mechanical engineering major, Clay eventually gravitated toward the business college, earning a Bachelor of Arts in business administration in 1962.

After graduating, Clay took a job as an accountant at the Chevrolet Division of General Motors in Toledo, Ohio. That same year, he married his high school sweetheart, MaryAnn Maas, Hon. D. ’11. After a year at GM, Clay accepted a management training position at the Campbell Soup Company plant in Napoleon, Ohio. Over the next seven years, he moved through the ranks of Campbell Soup, earning positions in cost accounting, inventory control and purchasing.

On June 1, 1970, Clay became the seventh employee of Iams Food Company, a small dog food business with annual revenues of about $500,000. Working without a title in the beginning, Clay became vice president and co-owner in 1975, president and CEO in 1980, sole owner in 1982, and chairman of the board in 1998.

With Clay’s unique entrepreneurial spirit and an emphasis on values, Iams experienced tremendous growth, and by 1999, the company reported sales of nearly $1 billion. That same year, Clay sold the company to Procter & Gamble for $2.3 billion.

In 1989, Clay and his family formed the Mathile Family Foundation, a private foundation that focuses on helping children reach their full potential. To date, the Foundation has provided more than $230 million to support nonprofit organizations serving families and children in need, primarily within Ohio’s Miami Valley region. In 1996, Clay founded Aileron, a state-of-the-art LEED Gold-certified facility open to entrepreneurs and small business owners of all kinds to help them professionally lead and manage their companies.

The ONU Bookstore will sell autographed copies of Mathile's book,
Dream No Little Dreams. All proceeds will benefit The Northern Fund.

In addition, Clay and MaryAnn created the Glen at St. Joseph, which offers 36 single moms the opportunities to pursue their educational and career goals while their children attend an early-learning center on campus, and the Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, which tackles issues of world hunger and malnutrition.

At Ohio Northern, Clay is a Life Member of the Lehr Society, a group of individuals recognized for contributing more than $100,000 to ONU during their lifetimes. Through the years, Clay has served as a member of the Business College Advisory Board, co-chair of the University’s Campaign for the 21st Century, a member of the ONU board of trustees, a member of the University’s planning committee, and an honorary chairman of The Campaign for Ohio Northern University’s Tomorrow. The Mathiles also initiated the campaign to construct the Mathile Center for the Natural Sciences, a 95,145-square-foot, student-centered academic research and learning facility on Northern’s campus.

The University’s highest scholarship award also bears the Mathile name. Since 2004, two $30,000 renewable Mathile scholarships (funded by the Mathile Family Foundation) have been awarded each year to top scholars at ONU.