Dr. Gary Phillips Named Dean of Wabash College

by Jim Amidon

March 15, 2006

Wabash College President Andrew T. Ford is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Gary A. Phillips as Dean of the College effective July 1. Phillips is currently Professor of Religion and Chair of the Religion Department at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

"We conducted a national search for the Dean of the College position, and we were pleased at the breadth and depth of the candidate pool. It was really quite remarkable. Even in that company," Ford commented, "Dr. Phillips stood out."

Dr. Phillips is a 1971 magna cum laude graduate of Lynchburg College and graduated from the Vanderbilt Divinity School, also magna cum laude. After studying for a year in Paris, he returned to Vanderbilt to earn his Ph.D. with highest distinction in New Testament Studies with a focus on linguistics.

Dr. Phillips will succeed Dean Raymond B. Williams, who has served as Dean of the College during the 2005-2006 academic year. The Dean of the College is Wabash’s chief academic officer responsible for leading the faculty, as well as supervision of information technology, international studies, Lilly Library, and Wabash’s Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts and Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.

"Wabash College honors me in asking me to serve as its next Dean of the College," said Phillips. "I am energized by the collegiality, the sense of community, the commitment to liberal arts education, the care it gives to the young men who come to be part of the Wabash community. Alice and I can’t wait to get settled in and begin this new chapter of our lives."

Beginning in 1979, Dr. Phillips spent 19 years on the faculty at the College of the Holy Cross, where he taught Religious Studies. He held a range of administrative appointments at Holy Cross, including directing the First Year Program, the Office of Grants and Research, and the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. He also chaired the Faculty Compensation Committee.

In 1998, Dr. Phillips was named to his current post at Sewanee, where in addition to chairing his department, he also directs the First Year Program and chairs the Faculty Budget Priorities Committee.

Dr. Phillips has written or edited six books primarily on the topic of linguistics and the ethical reading of the Bible. He is presently working on another four book projects as editor, co-editor, or author. In addition, Dr. Phillips has written dozens of book chapters and journal articles, translations, and book reviews. He has received individual grants or procured grant funding for his institutions from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Mellon Foundation, the American Academy of Religion, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation, Pew Memorial Trust, and the Dana Foundation.

Dr. Patrick E. White, who will become Wabash’s 15th president on July 1, assisted in the search for Phillips.

"Gary Phillips brings a deep passion for the liberal arts and a commitment to leadership grounded in reasoned discourse and a listening heart," said Dr. White. "I was happy to spend a good amount of time with him in the careful process of review established by President Ford and the very strong search committee. Throughout Gary evidenced a high regard for the excellence of the Wabash faculty; the drive, seriousness, and work ethic of the men of Wabash; and the promise for even greater achievement ahead. I very much look forward to working with Dr. Phillips in service of the highest aspirations of Wabash College."

Dr. Phillips has been visiting professor at the Drew Theological School and visiting scholar at the University of Toronto, Vanderbilt University, and in Urbino, Italy. He has served as associate editor of Religious Studies Review, Journal for New Testament Studies, and Semeia. He was a member of an American Academy of Religion steering committee on Academic Teaching and the Study of Religion. Dr. Phillips also has held summer fellowships at Yale University, Brown University, and the College of the Holy Cross.

In addition to his wide range of teaching and scholarly achievements, Dr. Phillips has done extensive work evaluating and reviewing curricula, academic programs, and faculty development for more than a dozen colleges and universities.

Dr. Phillips is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, the Catholic Biblical Association, the International Bonhoeffer Society, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the Society for Values in Higher Education.

Dr. Phillips and his wife, Alice, have three grown children: Jessica Rohlfing, Brooke Phillips, and Benjamin Phillips. Alice is presently a sixth grade teacher with the Sewanee Public Elementary School.

Wabash College is a private liberal arts college for men located in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Founded in 1832, its mission is to educate men to think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely.


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