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E. Clorisa Phillips named president of Virginia Intermont College

Virginia Intermont College
September 1, 2010
The Board of Trustees of Virginia Intermont College named Dr. E. Clorisa Phillips the 17th president of the college and the first woman to hold the position. Dr. Phillips had been in senior leadership of the University of Virginia, where she had served as associate provost for institutional effectiveness.

Virginia Intermont’s Board of Trustees named Phillips at a meeting July 20, 2010, culminating a several month search process.

“We feel very fortunate to have someone with her academic leadership and experience to lead Virginia Intermont into the 21st century,” said Wayne Kennedy, chair of the Board of Trustees. “She is well prepared to guide our institution as it positions itself for dynamic improvement and innovation. She will also be an energetic presence in the Bristol community.”

Phillips, who will hold the additional title of professor of public service and leadership, joined Virginia Intermont Aug. 1. In her previous position, she oversaw U.Va.’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and led its successful 2007 reaccreditation. In addition, as part of higher education restructuring in Virginia, she led the negotiation of the first guaranteed admission agreement between U.Va. and the Virginia Community College System. This year, she began a three-year term as trustee of the SACS Commission on Colleges.

She told a gathering of the Virginia Intermont campus community following her appointment that she welcomes the opportunity to become part of the college’s 126-year legacy.

“VI is a wonderful school,” Phillips said. “It has an important history, and it has a present full of promise. There is an amazing spirit and sense of family among the students, faculty, and staff and I am delighted to be part of the VI community. I look forward to leading Virginia Intermont College into the exciting future it deserves.”

During the search, Robert Rainwater, dean of religious life and a 30-year faculty member at Virginia Intermont, served as acting president following the resignation of Dr. Michael J. Puglisi. Kennedy expressed gratitude to Rainwater for “a marvelous job” of leadership in the interim.

Phillips has filled a wide range of administrative roles in her more than 30-year career at U.Va. She began in the Office of Admissions and moved on to responsibilities in Human Resources, the President’s Office and, since 2002, in the Office of the Executive Vice-President and Provost. Her responsibilities have included overseeing the design, procurement and administration of benefits plans and services for faculty and staff members; development activities and capital projects in the arts; and international academic projects.

During her career at U.Va., she also took on a special assignment as assistant to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s director of personnel and training, and she also served on the state’s Health Insurance Advisory Committee and to TIAA/CREF’s National Advisory Council.

She also has held numerous appointments to state, regional and national advisory groups and committees.

Phillips has a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in education from the University of Virginia. Higher education is her academic interest, and her current writing project is on the role of philanthropy in academic standard-setting in the early 20th century.
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