After 17 years in the Army and stints at St. Petersburg College and Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, Martyn Clay jumped at the chance to oversee Hillsborough Community College's 7,500-student Plant City campus.
Clay, 54, who starts work Monday as campus president, said the move brings him closer to his mother in Homosassa and daughter and son-in-law in Orlando. It also represents a step up from Eastern New Mexico University, where he served as provost for academic and student affairs.
Clay arrived in Plant City two weeks ago after a 1,600-mile cross-country drive. He said he doesn't expect immediate changes to the curriculum once he starts work. At some point, with the economy improving, he'll likely evaluate which programs to adjust based on enrollment. He might also introduce new programs, he said.
Clay, who was born in Fairfax, Va., retired from the Army as a major 16 years ago. He received a doctorate in education from the University of Missouri and served as associate vice president of academic and student affairs at St. Petersburg College for eight years. He also taught at the University of Florida. His son, Christopher, is serving in the Army in Afghanistan.
To know him better, we posed a handful of questions, some related and some not related to his new job:
Other than your children and wife, Evelyn, what are you most proud of?
When I retired from the Army, I never imagined I would have the opportunity to have a second career and do things I do now, as a senior leader in education.
Name something on you bucket list, not career related.
One of the things I'd like to do before it's all over is, I'm a big-time fisherman. I'd like to hook a marlin or sailfish.
If you had an extra hour in the day, how would use that time?
I think I would spend more time with my wife, going on walks. That's one of the things we really enjoy. But I'd also try to get in more reading, definitely more reading, and more fishing.
What's your favorite place?
My wife and I honeymooned in (the resort community of) Ruidoso in the mountains of New Mexico, and we used to travel there every other weekend. It's just beautiful, the views.
What's the most enjoyable experience you've ever had?
About five or six years ago when we were living just north of Tampa we took a boat trip with the kids. We packed up our gear in Tarpon Springs and took the boat down to Sanibel and spent about a week fishing. That was great, just being with my wife and kids.
Rich Shopes can be reached at [email protected]