|World War II||Clay and Mary|
It has often been said that actions speak louder than words. This could not be any truer than in the life of the late Tennessee Tech alum Clay Hixson. Though practically speechless the last 13 years of his life, his giving spirit led Clay to make one of the largest gifts in engineering’s history.
Clay Newell Hixson grew up on a rural
Shortly after graduation, Clay was hired on by the Tennessee Valley Authority as an electrical engineer, and spent the next 30 years with the organization. He retired to his Cleveland, TN home in 1983 to enjoy the good life.
Though he never married, Clay was fortunate to have met a wonderful lady who not only became a “traveling” companion, but also a special friend and caregiver. Mary Northrup and Clay became good friends in the 1960’s. After Clay retired, they enjoyed traveling together to various parts of the country.
Clay’s happy retirement was dampened in 1996 when he suffered a stroke. Among other things, the stroke severely affected his speech. Fortunately, Mary was there to help, and she became Clay’s full-time caregiver.
Sadly, Clay passed away in April 2009. However, his legacy will live on through a $1.5 million unrestricted estate gift to the College of Engineering. Clay’s wishes are to ensure that Tech grows and delivers to others the excellent education it gave him. With this undying love, Clay Hixson will prove, once again, that actions truly speak louder than words.