Today is Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Former CU president Dr. Phillips passes

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Dr. Ray C. Phillips, president of Cumberland University from 1991-1994, died Sunday in Florida. Dr. Phillips, a native of Wilson County, was a former classroom teacher, principal and public school administrator.

He came to Cumberland as vice president of academic affairs during the presidency of former U.S. Rep. Bob Clement before being selected by the Board of Trust to head the school in 1991. Two other Cumberland presidents, Dr. Walker Buckalew and the late Dr. Thomas Mills, served the school between the presidencies of Clement and Dr. Phillips.

Spanning a lengthy professional career in education including both public and private, Dr. Phillips was elected superintendent of Wilson County Schools in 1957 and served several years as Lebanon High School principal. He later held key administrative posts with the State of Tennessee's Department of Education and at Auburn University.

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=29|imageid=150|displayname=0|float=left}Dr. Phillips, because of his renown reputation in the field of education, his local family ties to the community and his credentials as a proven college administrator, was recruited to Cumberland in 1983 to aid in the transition process as the school made the decision to return to full four year status following a 25-year period as a junior college.

He was charged with duties overseeing curriculum and faculty and was significantly involved in seeing Cumberlands accreditation maintained.

He was a Cumberland alumnus, a Marine Corps veteran, and the author of more than 30 books and published journal articles.

Dr. Phillips is survived by his wife Dr. Phyllis Phillips who also was a faculty member at Cumberland and is largely credited with organizing the schools Fine Arts Council. He is also survived by two daughters and a son.

Cumberlands cafeteria in honor of the couple is named the Drs. Ray and Phyllis Phillips Dining Hall.

Funeral arrangements for Dr. Phillips were not known at Tuesdays deadline although it was reported that a memorial service in his honor will be held locally in the near future.

Rose Lawn Funeral Home, localed in Gulf Breeze, FL is in charge of arrangements.

Also read:Dr. Phillips served CU during a difficult time

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