Clay C. Blair
Clay C. Blair III, chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents, will deliver the address to the graduating class of 2001 at Cowley County Community College on May 12. Blair will speak during the 78th Commencement at Cowley, set for 7:30 p.m. May 12 in W.S. Scott Auditorium. Cowley will be graduating its largest class ever with 580 students receiving the associate of arts, associate of science, associate of applied science, associate of general studies, or the college certificate.
A Kansas resident since 1962, Blair holds a bachelor of science degree in business from the University of Kansas (graduating in three years), a master’s degree in marketing research from Indiana University, and a doctorate in higher education (policy and administration) from KU at age 25. He began his career in higher education as a professor of business at Rockhurst College, now Rockhurst University, and at Metropolitan Junior College, now Metropolitan Community College, all in Kansas City, Mo.
Blair, 57, who resides in Olathe, is president of Clay Blair Services Corporation located in Mission. Blair’s company has been active in the development of new businesses and real estate for 30 years. Representative clients have included McDonald’s in Oak Brook, Ill.; United Missouri Bankshares of Kansas City; Commerce Bankshares of Kansas City; LaPetite Academy of Kansas City; and the American Dental Association in Chicago.
Blair’s work in real estate development in and around the Kansas City metropolitan area is extensive. Recent projects include a 155-lot subdivision in Overland Park called Oxford Mills, a 600-plus lot subdivision in Overland Park called The Wilderness, and the Johnson County Wetlands Mitigation Bank, a 60-acre man-made nature preserve to be dedicated as a future county park. From 1976 to 1986, Blair worked in training and development. He was president of Fred Pryor Seminars from 1977 to 1983, and from 1983-86 was owner and president of Batten Blair Training Seminars.
He is author of a nationwide course titled “Negotiation—How to Work With People.” More than 20,000 people have participated in this program. In November 1998, Gov. Bill Graves appointed Blair as chairman of the Board of Regents. He took over for Bill Docking, president of Union State Bank of Arkansas City.
While Blair’s career as a real estate developer is impressive, his community involvement is even more extensive. Following are highlights of Blair’s community service:
* He was the developer of the University of Kansas Regents Center Campus in Overland Park. The building was named after good friends and life-long members of the KU Alumni Association, the late Roy A Edwards and Joan Edwards. Blair donated 35 acres of prime commercial land for campus, including the expansion to four buildings. The significance of the project is that it represented an effort coordinating the best of state, university, local government, and private cooperation.
* Blair donated 30 acres of land in 1997 to create an outdoor science and ecology park. The project included technical guidance from various state education agencies in wildlife biology and wetlands.
* He founded the Clay Blair Foundation in 1987. It provides support to many worthwhile organizations.
* Blair has served as president of the board of directors of The Children’s Center for Visually Impaired.
* He has been a member of Village Presbyterian Church since 1970 and has served on the church’s board of trustees.
* Blair served as chairman of the National Alumni Board from 1993 to 1996 for KU’s School of Education.
* Since 1994, Blair has served with five vice chancellors to plan the development, programming, and financing for the KU Regents Center in Overland Park.
Blair also has been involved in many education-related projects. His doctoral dissertation, creating an economic compensation model correlating a profile of teacher standard of living pay and expenses with census data of the identical school district population, later was used as a model to depict the adequacy or inadequacy of pay levels community by community by the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. From 1974 to 1983, Blair was part owner of the National Basketball Association’s Kansas City Kings. Blair has two children, Clay IV and Beth, and two stepchildren, Rachelle and Randolyn. His wife’s name is Janet.