Jay was born in 1937 in Wheeling, West Virginia. From his parents, he inherited a deep love of classical music, especially opera,. He graduated in 1960 from Penn State in Agriculture. In March, 1961, he married Janet Moore of Pittsburgh After service as an Army officer, he joined the State Department Foreign Service in 1963. His diplomatic postings were Guatemala, Australia (Adelaide), Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, India (New Delhi), the Dominican Republic, and Washington. He retired in 1987 and earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at Georgetown University. Jay is Board Chairman of The Hawley Corporation, a small portfolio and commercial real estate investment company in Atlanta. Jay and his wife, Janet, hosted a competitor in 2012 William Kapell Piano Competition. Janet earned a master degree in 1990 from the University of Maryland School of Public Health (1990). They have lived in College Park since 1986. The couple have three grown daughters and 4 grandchildren. Jay has enjoyed sailing and riding. They are addicted travelers. Jay joined the Board of Visitors in 2012.