Clay Mathile, BA ’62

clay

Clay Mathile grew up on a modest family farm in Portage, Ohio, and went on to become a billionaire businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

He once said he learned the importance of hard work and education from his parents and his aunt. Throughout his life, he desired to learn, strive, and innovate. After graduating from 91ֱin 1962, where he played on the men's basketball team, he began his career as an accountant.

In 1970, he joined the staff of a fledgling dog food manufacturer and within years took over the company’s ownership and grew it into an international success. He sold the Iams pet food company to Procter & Gamble in 1999 for $2.3 billion. From the proceeds of the sale, he gave every Iams employee a bonus, no matter their tenure.

After he achieved business success, he and his wife, Mary, formed the Mathile Family Foundation to provide critical philanthropic support to nonprofit organizations serving families and children in the Dayton, Ohio region. 

Clay not only championed the city of Dayton, but his alma mater. In addition to serving on ONU's Board of Trustees, he and Mary became Life Members of the Lehr Society, ONU's top giving society.

They supported STEM disciplines on campus, inspired by their friendship with Dr. Terry Keiser, faculty emeritus in biology. The Mathile Center, a 95,145 square-foot, student-centered facility, opened in 2006.

The Mathiles' interest in supporting future generations of leaders led them to establish the Mathile Scholars program, which provides a renewable, merit-based scholarship to up to two recipients each year.

Clay Mathile died on August 26, 2023, at age 82.