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$1 million gift will support endowed scholarships

The generosity of Kevin Clayton ’84 and his wife Lisa will benefit South Mountain College.

Students in Lehigh University’s South Mountain College will benefit from a generous gift from a 1984 Lehigh graduate.

Lisa and Kevin Clayton ’84 have endowed the Lisa A. and Kevin L. Clayton ’84 Endowed Scholarship Fund with a $1 million gift. The endowed scholarship fund will support students enrolled in South Mountain College, a new residential academic program in Lehigh’s College of Arts and Sciences.

South Mountain College is dedicated to the exploration of ideas and issues in a fluid, interactive environment that sets the stage for life-long learning and offers students the opportunity to assume the responsibility of their own curriculum structures. The program allows students of all majors to cross disciplines and indulge many of their intellectual curiosities. Students take about one-third of their credits in the program, while the remaining time is devoted to a major in a traditional discipline and free electives.

“The mission of South Mountain College is to build an intellectual community in which students and faculty come together to explore significant interdisciplinary ideas. The Lisa A. Clayton and Kevin L. Clayton ’84 Endowed Scholarship will impact our ability to attract innovative students who engage fully in designing their educational experience at Lehigh,” said Anne Meltzer, the Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean.

"This is a wonderful gift because more than anything South Mountain College is about gathering together talented and creative students and setting them loose on interesting ideas and important issues,” said Peter Zeitler, director of South Mountain College and a professor of earth and environmental sciences. “Financial support like this will help us recruit and retain students from diverse backgrounds. We're truly grateful to the Claytons for such a generous, timely, and important gift."

Kevin Clayton graduated from Lehigh in 1984 with a degree in government. While at Lehigh, he was class president, a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and elected to Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society. He received his MBA from St. Joseph’s University in 1988.

“Lisa and I are very excited about what South Mountain College has to offer to a wide range of Lehigh students,” said Kevin Clayton. “The ability for students to assume responsibility for their curriculum, explore exciting and practical global topics across the broad array of university disciplines, all while living in a dedicated, intellectually challenging residence will help students compete successfully in a global environment well beyond graduation. We are delighted to be able to give back to Lehigh in such a manner.”

Kevin began his career with Chrysler Corporation, holding a variety of management positions in the U.S. Automotive Sales and Marketing Division. In 1990, he joined Trust Company of the West, becoming senior vice president in 1994. In 1995, he joined Oaktree Capital Management, a global investment management organization. Kevin is currently a Principal of the firm.

Lisa Clayton is the daughter of James and Lorraine Egizio of Center Valley, Pa. She was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pa.

The Claytons have long been devoted members of the Lehigh family, a devotion which began when Kevin’s father, William L. Clayton ’51, a Lehigh trustee emeritus, chose Lehigh over Penn and then saw five of his own children—Kevin Clayton ’84, Susan Clayton Starkman ’86, Carolyn Weiss Clayton ’88, Christopher Clayton ’88 and Kathleen Clayton ‘94G—receive degrees from Lehigh. And the next generation of Claytons have kept coming to Lehigh, as witnessed by the fact that Kathleen Lauren Haselton ’09 (Kathleen’s daughter and Kevin’s niece) will become the tenth member of the family to graduate from Lehigh in the spring.

Over the years, Kevin has remained an integral part of Lehigh, serving as a member of Lehigh’s Board of Trustees from 1993 to 1999 and from 2005 to the present. He is a member of the university’s Endowment Fund Investment Committee, the Lehigh Leadership Council and the College of Business and Economics Advisory Board. He is involved with his class’s 25th Reunion Fund effort and was president of his regional Lehigh University Alumni Association club. Kevin also serves on the Board of Trustees of Blair Academy.

In 2003, Lisa and Kevin Clayton established the William L. and Carol L. Clayton Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of Kevin’s parents. They are also long-time members of the Asa Packer Society and the Tower Society, Lehigh’s leadership giving societies.

The Claytons reside in Far Hills, N.J. They have three children.

Their gift to scholarship is part of Shine Forever: The Campaign for Lehigh. The campaign, which has a goal of $500 million, is focused on raising endowment for faculty chairs, undergraduate scholarships, academic programs, and student life and athletics.

--Tricia Long

 

Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2008

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