William L. Clayton graduated from Lehigh with a B.S. in business administration in 1951. As a student, Clayton was treasurer of Chi Phi, Interfraternity Council, and Omicron Delta Kappa Honorary society and was business manager of the Brown and White. After graduation, he began his career with E.F. Hutton & Company, rising to the positions of executive vice president and director. He became a senior V.P. of Shearson Lehman Hutton Inc., then Smith Barney. He is also a director of the Stabler Companies, Inc. and Eastern Industries.
As an alumnus, he has assumed a leadership role in many aspects of the university. He was on the reunion fund committee for his class's 35th and 40th reunions, and in 1978 was president of the Alumni Association. He was a university trustee from 1979-1999 and served on the executive committee of the board. He also chaired the advancement committee. In 1999, Clayton became a trustee emeritus.
Clayton was national chairman of the Lehigh Fund, chairman of the Rauch Business Center campaign, and chairman of the Asa Packer Society. In 1984, the New York Alumni Club honored him with the L-in-Life award for service to the university. In 1987, he was awarded an honorary L.L.D. degree. Clayton is currently a member of the Athletics Partnership Advisory Board and both the Asa Packer and Tower Societies. He and his wife, Carol, established the Clayton Conference Center at the Rauch Business Center and the W. L. Clayton Professorship in the College of Business and Economics. Their son, Kevin '84 and his wife, Lisa, established the Carol L. and William L. Clayton Scholarship in the Claytons’ honor.
Clayton and his wife, Carol, have six children, four of whom attended Lehigh, as well as a daughter-in-law who is an alumna, and a son-in-law who earned his doctoral degree from Lehigh. They currently have three grandchildren that are Lehigh students. The Claytons make their home in New Jersey.