October 19, 2018
Dear Alumni and Friends,
The Phillips University Board of Trustees, aware of concerns and questions recently stated on the Phillips University Alumni and Friends Facebook page, is posting this open letter to those who desire more information about Phillips University, Inc., its Board of Trustees, why it still exists 20 years after closing, and the organization’s possible plans for the future.
The Phillips University web page includes a brief history of Phillips, how our education was centered on personal development as represented by the four pillars, its current seminary scholarship program, a list of the Trustees, instructions on how to request a transcript, and a brief summary of closing. A bonus is the background choral singing of our Alma Mater! For this information and more, the Phillips University website can be accessed at www.phillips.edu or by clicking on “Phillips University” on the lead banner of the Phillips University Legacy Foundation (“PULF”) home page at www.pulf.org.
After the bankruptcy and closing of the university in 1998, the Board of Trustees, upon advice of their attorneys, made the decision for Phillips University, Inc. to remain open both for legal reasons following the bankruptcy, and to remain a viable entity which could receive gifts, some quite large, from estates which named Phillips University as a beneficiary. We have received a number of them through the years, and those funds, along with oil and gas revenue (which is significant due to the efforts of staff and some of our alumni), have been passed on to the Legacy Foundation to pay for scholarships and the Leadership Program. These funds are also used to pay for staff salaries, rent and other overhead costs. In addition, we would certainly not be in our current healthy financial position without the willingness of the Trustees and the staff to defend the interests of Phillips University in court several times since closing.
With only one significant estate remaining that we are aware of naming Phillips as a beneficiary, and the legal reasons that existed until recently now having largely passed, we feel it is timely and appropriate to consider merging the Phillips University legal entity with the Legacy Foundation. We are only in the exploratory phase of planning for our future, however, and have considerable research ahead of us before a final decision is made.
A point of memory and gratitude: In 1999, Phillips University Alumni and Friends Association (“PUAFA”) presented to the Trustees a proposal to form a new entity which would carry on the Phillips University legacy in perpetuity. Since Phillips alumni are a finite group, the legacy would not have existed more than a few more decades, so the Trustees embraced this idea and turned over to the newly created Legacy Foundation more than $3 Million from the sale of Phillips’ remaining assets after closing. This partnership with PUAFA in forming PULF has been a source of pride among the Trustees, and remains so to this day. The farsighted PUAFA alumni, even in their grief over losing our University, were able to envision a Phillips University that would live on in the lives and work of the Legacy Scholars.
Barry Robinson '63, Chair
Phillips University Board of Trustees