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Phillip L. Clay

When Phillip L. Clay, Ph.D., was appointed as the chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on July 1, 2001, he became the highest-ranking African American official in the Institute’s 136-year history. As chancellor, Clay has oversight responsibility for undergraduate and graduate education, student life and services, research policy, strategic planning, campus development, international initiatives and the management of MIT’s large-scale institutional partnerships.

Born on May 17, 1946, Clay grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina and graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1968. In 1975, he received a Ph.D. in city planning from MIT. Upon graduating from MIT, he was appointed immediately as an assistant professor in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. He rose through the ranks, first becoming associate professor and then becoming a full professor in 1992. Between 1980 and 1984, Clay also served as the assistant director of the Joint Center for Urban Studies of MIT and Harvard University.

Clay is recognized as a national authority on urban housing policy and community-based organizational development. He has been the principal investigator in several studies examining affordable housing, housing preservation and urban gentrification. For example, in a 1987 study commissioned by the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, he identified the market and institutional conditions contributing to the erosion of low-income rental housing and documented the need for a national preservation policy. He later served on the national commission that recommended the policy that became part of the Housing Act of 1990. In research sponsored by several national foundations, Clay has evaluated the effectiveness of various initiatives to build organizational and developmental capacity in community-based development entities.

Clay is also a founding member of the National Housing Trust, which addressed the issue of housing preservation in urban areas. At the time of the interview, he the vice-president of the board of The Community Builders, one of the country’s largest non-profit producers of affordable housing.

Clay and his wife, Cassandra, live in Boston, and have a daughter, Elizabeth.

Accession Number

A2004.201

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/13/2004

Last Name

Clay

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Schools

William Harry Blount Elementary School

Gregory Elementary School

Williston Middle School of Math, Science & Technology

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

First Name

Phillip

Birth City, State, Country

Wilmington

HM ID

CLA09

Favorite Season

Summer

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/17/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Academic administrator Phillip L. Clay (1946 - ) was the first African American Chancellor of MIT, where he was also a professor of urban planning. Clay is recognized as a national authority on urban housing policy and community-based organizational development, and is a founding member of the National Housing Trust, which addressed the issue of housing preservation in urban areas.

Employment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Joint Center for Urban Studies

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Phillip Clay interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Phillip Clay's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Phillip Clay remembers his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Phillip Clay remembers his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Phillip Clay describes his relationship with his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Phillip Clay describes life with four brothers

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Phillip Clay recalls his earliest memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Phillip Clay recalls his childhood environs in Wilmington, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Phillip Clay describes family life in his childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Phillip Clay describes the role of the church in his early life

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Phillip Clay remembers influential individuals from his early life

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Phillip Clay describes the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Phillip Clay describes his elementary school experience

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Phillip Clay discusses education and politics in the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Phillip Clay shares memories from his school life

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Phillip Clay describes his early career aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Phillip Clay explains his decision to attend the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Phillip Clay recalls his undergraduate years at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Phillip Clay discusses his interest in the politics of the 1960s, part I

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Phillip Clay discusses his interest in the politics of the 1960s, part II

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Phillip Clay describes his efforts toward the desegregation of schools

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Phillip Clay describes his student involvement at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Phillip Clay remembers his college mentor

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Phillip Clay describes his pursuit of graduate education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Phillip Clay recalls being drafted to serve in the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Phillip Clay recalls his experience as a doctoral student

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Phillip Clay discusses his family

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Phillip Clay discusses occupational opportunities upon receiving his Ph.D.

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Phillip Clay lists influential instructors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Phillip Clay lists his first course offerings as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Phillip Clay discusses his appointment at the Joint Center for Urban Studies, Harvard University/The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Phillip Clay reviews his career as faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Phillip Clay describes his responsibilities as Chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Phillip Clay reflects on his students' successes

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Phillip Clay discusses improving student life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Phillip Clay details his involvement in community development and housing initiatives

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Phillip Clay describes his leadership at Roxbury Community College

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Phillip Clay reflects on his life and career

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Phillip Clay describes how he'd like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Phillip Clay shares his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Phillip Clay evaluates difficulties facing young black people

Fletcher "Flash" Wiley

Lawyer and civic leader Fletcher “Flash” Wiley was born on November 29, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. Four years after his birth, Wiley’s family moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was raised. In 1953, Wiley was selected as a charter member of the “Gifted Child Program” by the Indianapolis Public Schools, in which he was the only African American in his class. Upon graduation from Shortridge High School in 1960, Wiley was recruited by the United States Air Force Academy and became the first African American from the State of Indiana appointed to a military academy, as well as the school’s first African American football player. As an athlete, he gained the nickname “Flash,” and in 1965, became the fifth African American graduate of the Air Force Academy and the Academy’s first black Fulbright Scholar. Wiley continued his studies at L’Institut Des Etudes Politiques at the University of Paris in France; and, in 1974, following his service as a captain in the U.S. Air Force, he received his M.P.P. degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.

For almost four decades, Wiley has worked as a practicing attorney concentrating in the areas of corporate and commercial law, small business development, entertainment law and real estate. He helped form the Boston, Massachusetts-based law firm of Budd, Reilly and Wiley, the largest minority-dominant firm in New England. In 1996, Wiley joined PRWT Services, Inc., as vice president and general counsel; and before he retired from employment with PRWT in 2008, he helped build the company into one of the nation’s largest minority-owned businesses and Black Enterprise Magazine’s 2009 “Company of the Year”. He remains a member of the PRWT Advisory Board.

Wiley has served as a Director of several for-profit business organizations, including three public companies. He retired in 2011, after two decades as a Director of The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE). He is a director of the privately-held sports enterprise, Haymon Boxing, LLC. He is also of counsel to the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP (formerly Bingham McCutchen LLP), where he specializes in corporate and commercial law. He is also chairman and chief executive officer of the Centaurus Group, LLC, where he serves as an investor and principal in several commercial, real estate development, and management consulting ventures.

Wiley has been involved in many civic and charitable activities. In 1984, he founded and chaired the Governor’s Commission on Minority Business Development. He also served for seven years, first as president and later as national chairman, of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, Inc.; and he later served for two years as chairman of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Wiley is also a founding member of the Black Alumni Associations of both the Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School. He is a benefactor of Crispus Attucks Children's Center, Inc.; a founding member of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School Black Alumni Organizations; a former Director of the New England Legal Foundation; Overseer of the New England Region Anti-Defamation League; and Chairman of the Board of The Dimock Center, Inc. He has also received numerous civic and professional awards, including induction into the 2010 “Academy of Distinguished Bostonians.” In 2011, he was named by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to the Board of Visitors of The Air University; and in 2012, President Barack Obama appointed him to the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Air Force Academy. In 2012, he received Honorary Doctorates from Cambridge College and New England School of Law.

Wiley is a member of the Bars of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and District of Columbia, and belongs to the American, National, and Massachusetts Bar Associations.

He and his wife, Benaree Pratt Wiley, live in Brookline, Massachusetts. They have two children: a son, Pratt, and a daughter, B.J.

Fletcher “Flash” Wiley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 15, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.206

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/15/2004

10/15/2004 |and| 9/11/2019

Last Name

Wiley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Houston

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Flanner House Elem Sch (Charter)

Shortridge High School

U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School

United States Air Force Academy

Harvard Law School

Harvard Kennedy School

James Whitcomb Riley School 43

P.S. 23

P.S. 40

P.S. 45

First Name

Fletcher

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WIL19

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches, Casinos

Favorite Quote

I Am The World's Greatest Over Sixty Year-Old Basketball Player.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/29/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Lawyer Fletcher "Flash" Wiley (1942 - ) , CEO of the Centaurus Group, LLC and of counsel to the law firm of Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP, co-founded the law firm of Budd, Reilly and Wiley, and was vice president and general counsel of PRWT Services, Inc.

Employment

Budd, Reilly and Wiley

PRWT Holdings

Bingham McCutchen LLP - Boston

U.S. Air Force

Abt Associates Inc.

Fine & Ambrogne

Fitch, Wiley, Richlin & Tourse, P.C.

Bingham McCutchen LLP

PWRT Services, Inc.

Schnader Harrison Goldstein & Manello

Unity Bank & Trust Company

Snyder, Tepper & Berlin

Shearman & Sterling

Democratic National Platform Committee

U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare

Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General

Mark Battle Associates, Inc.

Congressman Andrew Jacobs, Jr. (D-IN)

Favorite Color

Black, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Fletcher "Flash" Wiley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recounts his mother's tumultuous background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his mother and his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes his mother's personality and the places she lived

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his father and his brother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recalls his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes his childhood in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about basketball player Oscar Robertson

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recalls attending Flanner House for kindergarten

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes being placed in a gifted child's program in the Indianapolis Public School district

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes his experience in the gifted child program through the Indianapolis Public School district

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recalls attending Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his extracurricular activities during his time at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes the process of being accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recalls attending the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his Fulbright Scholarship

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about joining the Office of Special Investigation of the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes meeting and marrying his wife, HistoryMaker Benaree P. Wiley

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about attending Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes the atmosphere of Boston, Massachusetts in the 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about organizing the Harvard Law School Black Alumni Association

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his involvement in different law associations

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recalls attending the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes forming his law practice, Budd, Reilly and Wiley, in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his work at Abt Associaties, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts and at Fine & Ambrogne in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes his role within Budd, Reilly and Wiley in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his civic activities in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes the evolution of the law firm Budd, Reilly and Wiley in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes the history of PRWT Services, Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his work at PRWT Services, Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his family

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about the Crispus Attucks Children's Center in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley sings a rendition of 'Save the Last Dance for Me' by The Drifters

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about his love and appreciation for his wife, HistoryMaker Benaree P. Wiley

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley reflects upon his life and his future plans

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley talks about the U.S. military's role in desegregation and its continuing efforts at inclusion

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley narrates his photographs

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Fletcher "Flash" Wiley explains how he got the nickname 'Flash'

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$1

DAStory

2$12

DATitle
Fletcher "Flash" Wiley recalls attending the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Fletcher "Flash" Wiley describes being placed in a gifted child's program in the Indianapolis Public School district
Transcript
I wasn't certain I even was gonna be a practicing attorney when I went to [Harvard] Law School [Cambridge, Massachusetts]. I just didn't know what else to do with my life. I knew I didn't wanna be a doctor which is something I thought about. I knew I didn't wanna be an astronaut, so I kind of went to law school as a holding place. And after my first year of law school three or four guys from the [John F.] Kennedy School [of Government at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] came over to Harvard Law School and they were recruiting because they were trying to find people that had a technical background, mathematics background, to join a new program that they were putting together at the Kennedy School called the public policy program that used quantitative methods to analyze and political matters and so forth. And they with the all-star group, guys that I had, had heard about in, in college [U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado] and, and, and indeed in high school [Shortridge High School, Indianapolis, Indiana]. Guys like Richard Neustadt, and Tom [Thomas] Schelling, and Howard (unclear), and Bob [Robert P.] Mosteller, all of whom were, were fantastic known scholars and so forth. So after a year of law I went to the Kennedy School, ended up doing the joint program with, with law and, and public policy. So I didn't get out of school until 1974 and was thinking about becoming a public servant. And the only thing I had not done was really work in private sector in a sustained way. And I thought you know that to be a good public servant you really needed to have some private sector experience. And that's what finally persuaded me to go into the practice of law. I said look you got the degree, you're a member of the [Massachusetts] Bar [Association], why not try it out for a couple of years and learn something about business.$I started grade school at five; I would be six in November. And the public school education was a--I had some adjustment problems because I always use to talk out in class and fool around while other people were trying to get their work done. And so I, I got in a lot, a lot of hot water as a, as a young kid trying to learn the ropes. Played hooky a couple of times and--so I guess when I was in the fourth or fifth grade--well, actually they give it earlier, they give you an IQ test just to see if there's something wrong with me. And I guess I did pretty well on the test so they just said well you know, this guy is just not being challenged enough. And a couple years later I got involved as a charter member of a thing the Indianapolis Public Schools were putting together called the gifted child program. And I was the first black child involved in that program in a segregated city, 1952. I was transferred from going to all black schools, which I loved and so forth into, into the white community where I was the only black kid. And having to wrestle with that was sort of an adjustment for me. They would already had more money than I did, they wore clothes differently, they talked about different things and it was only then that I begin to see from their eyes how poor both financially and otherwise that they, they viewed me and other black people. So it took me a little while to deal with that. For a while I told everybody that my father [Fletcher Wiley] was a doctor (laughter). And my mother [Mildred Berg] went to school with me one day and, and she was talking to the teacher and the teacher said, "Well, how's Dr. Wiley doing?" she said, "Dr. Wiley, who's that?" (Laughter) But you cope you know; you cope as best you can.