Clay Hines ʼ09 work can put people to sleep – don’t worry, it’s a part of his job. Hines is an anesthesiologist in Texas. He graduated from Graceland in 2009 with a double major in biology and chemistry, and recalls the hard work he put into achieving his accomplishments.
“The path to getting into med school and being a physician has been anything but straight and easy for me,” Hines says. Also a member of the Graceland football team while studying organic chemistry and microbiology, Hines felt his studies take a toll and considered giving up the sport. However, it was with the help of his coaches and professors that he was able to take time to focus on his classes. “It should not matter how difficult a goal is if it is important to you,” he advises.
When asked about what he remembers most about Graceland, Hines has a simple answer: the relationships. Professors and coaches were not the only people at Graceland who Hines remembers fondly. Graceland is a close-knit community with many family and generational connections – Hines is no different. He had many members of his family and friends already on campus when he arrived – but he also made longstanding friendships outside of those bonds.
“That circle of close friends grew quicker and has lasted longer than I could have imagined,” Hines says. He has attended several alumni weddings and even his own wedding to his wife, Makayla, in 2016 hosted many Graceland friends.
Besides building relationships, Graceland also gave Hines the initiative to join in its student activities.
"I never considered myself very outgoing, but everything about Graceland invites you to grow as a human being."
Because of the welcoming environment, he joined several clubs, including SIFE. Now known as ENACTUS, the entrepreneurial organization allowed him to see many parts of the world, including Thailand, Peru and Paris. The opportunity gave him a chance to impact others’ lives, which, in turn, affected his own.
Now, Hines has the chance to help others every day through his career. After graduating from Graceland, he attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston from 2009-13. From there, he went on to his residency at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center from 2013-17. He finished his anesthesiology residency in June and is currently working with a group of anesthesiologists in Beaumont, Texas. Hines says he enjoys the practice because he can provide anesthetic care to patients in a variety of ways; from delivering anesthetic to those in open-heart surgery to administering obstetric anesthesia to expectant mothers, he has many opportunities to use his skill.
In the future, Hines plans to have many adventures with his wife and their daughter, Aubrey. He also looks forward to being able to give back to Graceland. Because of those who donate to Graceland, he was able to have the experiences he did and wants to make sure others have the chance to share in what Graceland has to offer as well.