Victoria Mikita – Staff Writer
Jamie Phillips, otherwise known as Dr. Phillips on Clarion University’s campus, is not only a professor of philosophy, but a man who wears multiple hats in his life. Quite literally: he loves his black hat so much that you may see him sporting it in Starbucks.
The path to becoming a philosophy professor was not necessarily his plan as a young man. At 17-years-old, he signed up for the Air Force, not considering college as one of his options. He reflects on his military experience as it being one of the best decisions he ever made, as it made him worldly and afraid of nothing.
Phillips explains that college never struck him as one of his options because no one in his family attended college, and no one ever believed in him to push him, although he knew he had the intelligence. Eventually, a friend in the military asked him why he was not going to college, and it made him think twice about it. He then attended the University of Missouri Columbia to study philosophy.
Phillips met his wife at a department store they both worked at in Missouri, and as he put it, they “met over the paper towels.” She has been a huge influence in his life and pushed him to finish his schooling. They have been married for 23 years.
Clarion University offered him a position in 1999 and he is very happy to have ended up here. The town he grew up in only had one stoplight and the city is not somewhere he desires to be, so Clarion is the perfect fit.
“I find Clarion to be a great, good spot in Pennsylvania,” he said. “I love the students and growing up very poor I see myself in many ofthe students here who are working their way through college. College made a difference in my life and I see that in the students. I knew within a short time I wanted to spend the rest of my life here,” he added.
Phillips is very involved with his students, whether it be catching up with them before or after class or on Facebook. He strives to get to know all of his students and teaches in a way that makes sense to them. He developed the course “Philosophy and Pop Culture,” which he has taught now for 10 years this fall.
“I am a big believer in relationships and having good relationships. I think what you do in the world is to try to make people happier, so my philosophy is that the world is sort of a cold and uncaring place, unless you make it caring and kind, so I believe in taking care of people,” he said.
Along with teaching philosophy courses, Phillips is involved with the Faculty Senate, which involves recommendations about curriculum, students affairs activities, faculty affairs library issues and passing course.
At home, Phillips prides himself in being a wonderful husband and father. He has two sets of twins, girls who are 17-years-old and boys who are 12-years-old. He enjoys attending their sporting events, making them breakfast each morning and playing board games as a family. Some may even call him the “world’s greatest dad.”
It is certain that Phillips will be seen on campus for years to come. He loves it here and students love having him here, for he is most definitely one of those professors students can go to for anything.
He concluded, “I have had a lot of good luck in my life, and I like to pay it forward and pay it back. I like to take care of people in any way I can, whether it be students, friends or colleagues. My favorite thing in the world to do is make people laugh.”