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Clyde Wootton headshot

It was early in the morning and Clyde Wootton ’72 was sipping his coffee and trying not to disturb his wife, Cheryl Wagner Wootton ’72, who was sleeping.

Clyde was also reflecting a bit about his time as an undergraduate at Marietta College, and how 51 years after he graduated, he will return as the newest member of the College’s Board of Trustees — the only new member voted on during the May Board meeting.

“I never really thought about it until (former President) Bill (Ruud) mentioned it to us over dinner,” Clyde said. “Cheryl and I have tried to contribute more to things we care about, and Marietta is definitely one of those places.”

Clyde is unable to attend the July Board meeting because of a prior commitment, but he said he is looking forward to being back on campus in October for two days of meetings and Homecoming. Marietta’s Board meets quarterly — normally on campus.

“I actually thought Cheryl would be better at this than me; but after we talked about it, she encouraged me to join the Board,” he said.

Clyde grew up in Little Hocking, Ohio, and graduated from Warren High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Geology at Marietta, and in 1974 he added a Master of Science in Geology from Ohio State to his résumé. His active working career was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the first 15 years as a geologist, exploration manager, and consultant.  Clyde worked at BRG Petroleum/BRG Energy Inc. from 1990 until his retirement in 2016. He served as an exploration manager, Vice President of Exploration, and part-owner. He continues to serve on the company’s Board of Directors.

“Upon retirement, we moved to Raleigh to be near our daughter (DeJaya Wootton Soltys ’98), son-in-law (Stephen Soltys ’98), and grandson,” Clyde said.

Clyde is a long-time member of the Tulsa Geological Society, is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and belongs to the St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Raleigh.

“I have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Clyde and his wife Cheryl,” said Dr. Joshua Jacobs, Vice President for Advancement. “They are passionate Pioneers who are committed to the success of MC and the growth of programs that serve students. Now, I look forward to working with Clyde in a more formal way as a Trustee to move the institution forward.” 

Clyde said he believes in the Marietta College education, and he hopes to help his alma mater as a Trustee.

“What Marietta is doing seems to be heading in the right direction, and it gives everyone an opportunity to succeed,” he said. “I didn’t realize it right away the positive impact Marietta's education had on me. I was very focused on science, and I didn’t appreciate the liberal arts stuff that went with it.”

However, once Clyde entered the business world, he tapped into his liberal arts background and made an impression.

“I was working with a company in Houston that was helping us market a business we were selling,” he said. “We needed to prepare some maps and write ups. The company was led by engineers, and I didn’t like the way they wrote, so I volunteered to do the write ups. When we got down to Houston for the first meeting, the company’s chief geologist looked at what I had written and asked me if I had attended a liberal arts college. He recognized the quality of my education, and it was the first time I truly appreciated it.”