Clayco founder spoke of S&T grads’ stories during May commencement

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On May 15, 2024

Clayco founder Robert Clark

Robert “Bob” Clark, founder of Clayco, offered Missouri University of Science and Technology graduates some inspiration from his story, his life and his career, along with some of his successes and failures, during two commencement ceremonies at Missouri S&T.

Clark spoke during Missouri S&T commencement ceremonies held at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Gale Bullman Building on the S&T campus.

Clark told the graduates that his talk would focus on their stories, because they still have about 23,000 days left. 

“I don’t know what you hear in that number,” Clark said. “But I will tell you what I heard: life is short. And I think this realization requires you to become a great adventurer in all 23,000 of those days. You should consider today to be one of the most amazing days of your next 23,000.”

Clark spoke of becoming a lifelong reader and of his belief in self-improvement, education and finding things that were broken and fixing them.

“I try to never, ever complain about the way something is, but instead, just go about trying to change and fix things,” Clark said. “So, my advice to you, if it’s not already clear, is to find yourself the most educated person on every subject … in every room you’re in. And, also, be a continuous self-improver.

“My forefathers were poor people, but in every generation, they worked hard to build a path forward for the following generation,” Clark said. “My grandfather did that for my father, and it was still a dirt path. My father flattened the path with firm gravel and made it wider for me. And I have always felt it’s totally my responsibility to pave the path with granite for my children. I believe we paved these paths with values, and I’m sure each of you feel a sense of gratitude for the path that someone made for you to get here today and the values you have already engrained in yourself.

“What will your story be? How will you make the path wider, more solid, less rough?

“Start thinking about your own personal values today and what you may add to make your story more successful, and also, more importantly, how you will improve the path that was set for you for your future family and community.”

Clark founded Clayco, a real estate development and design-build construction company in 1984 in St. Louis, his hometown. Clayco had revenue of over $5 billion in 2023 with approximately $1 billion in real estate development. The company, now headquartered in Chicago, is among the largest builders of industrial, hyper-scale data facilities, advanced manufacturing, food and beverage, education, research, and health care projects.

Appointed by President Joe Biden as the U.S. Commissioner General for World Expo Dubai, Clark served in the State Department in 2021 and 2022. He also served as a trustee at Saint Louis University and Washington University’s School of Medicine, and was a former executive director and board member of the Central Institute for the Deaf.

Outside his professional endeavors, Clark enjoys time with his family at his Colorado ranch, hiking worldwide, and collecting works by talented Black and Native American artists for the Clark Collection.

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On May 15, 2024. Posted in News

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