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Jerry H. Clay Endowed Presidential Scholarship for Petroleum Engineering

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Jerry Clay standing next to a gas flare.
Jerry Clay standing next to a gas flare.


The Jerry H. Clay Endowed Presidential Scholarship for Petroleum Engineering was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on February 14, 2011, to benefit the Cockrell School of Engineering. The endowment honors Mr. Jerry H. Clay. Gift funds were provided by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Clay, Mrs. Dixi R. Clay, Mr. A. Carroll Clay, and Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Clay.

Jerry H. Clay
Jerry H. Clay

Jerry was born in Athens, Texas, on August 6, 1936, and graduated from The University of Texas in 1959 with a BS in petroleum engineering. He married Dixi Sue Rhoades in 1963 and they raised two sons, Kyle and Richard. Jerry loved his time at the University. He maintained lifelong friendships that were established there. He was a strong supporter of the University, a “Friend of Alec,” and he loved Longhorn football.

After graduation, Jerry joined two of his older brothers in the oil business: Thomas W. Clay and A. Carroll “Pete” Clay (’58). Jerry worked with his brothers for a number of years before establishing his own exploration company. He drilled and operated wells in Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and throughout his beloved Texas, both on and offshore. In addition to the continental United States, his business interests took him to Africa, South America, and Alaska. Jerry was involved in geothermal and mining exploration, as well as the importation of fine wines and spirits. He passed away on March 30, 2010, but his wife and family continue to feel his love.

Jerry and Dixi Clay
Jerry and Dixi Clay

Jerry and Dixi’s sons have followed their father’s success. Kyle became a firefighter-paramedic and married Anna. Richard married Amy and continues to operate White Rock Exploration, Inc., the oil business he and Jerry started together in 2000.

The Clay family chose to endow the Jerry H. Clay Endowed Presidential Scholarship for Petroleum Engineering so they could honor the memory of a great man who made many contributions to society and loved the University. Jerry H. Clay was an incredibly bright engineer, an avid hunter, and a trusting optimist who ended his business deals with a handshake. He was a humorist, always smiling and quick with a joke, especially an Aggie joke! He was a fierce friend and family man. His friends and family knew they could always depend on him.

The Clay family feels the endowment reflects his life by supporting the University, which held such a special place in his heart. The students who qualify for this award will have to be outstanding scholars, a trait Jerry valued. The family hopes the endowment and the scholarships it generates will help engineering students follow in Jerry’s footsteps.

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