Messiah’s eighth president, Kim S. Phipps, is guiding the College into a second century of shared faith, bold vision, and enduring promise.
President Phipps took on her first leadership role when, with the help of a campaign team, she designed an effective strategy (that included creative buttons, posters, and the like) to earn the honorable title of fifth grade president.
From that point on, President Phipps held a variety of leadership roles throughout high school and college. She participated in a variety of activities like student government, yearbook, the student newspaper, various bands, and service projects just to name a few.
Her love for learning motivated her to graduate magna cum laude from Kentucky Christian College with a B.A. in Biblical Studies and minors in English and History. A year later, in 1979, she earned her M.A. in Speech Communication from Morehead State University, and then went on to receive her Ph.D. in Communication (Rhetoric) from Kent State University.
Before her service at Messiah began, President Phipps served in many leadership positions at Malone College in Canton, Ohio, including professor; communication arts department chair; acting academic dean; and associate dean for faculty development.
President Phipps then packed her bags and headed for Grantham, Pennsylvania where she assumed the role of academic dean at Messiah College. She also held positions such as provost and interim president before becoming the College’s eighth president.
In December 2004, Phipps was inaugurated as president of Messiah College. She continues to be involved in the classroom setting, occasionally serving as an instructor for Created and Called for Community, Messiah’s required course for first-year students.
Significant College initiatives accomplished during her presidency include:
- Restructuring the College governance
- Creating the first-year core curriculum and co-curriculum that is holistic, student-centered and focused on the College's mission and identity
- Receiving a $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment which enabled students and faculty to pursue programming related to understanding and discovering Christian vocation
- Creating a campus climate that exhibits hospitality and promotes reconciliation
- The launching of the new core course “Created and Called for Community”
- The completion of the “To Serve & To Lead” campaign which raised $50.5 million for student enrichment through new facilities, academic programming, and financial aid
- The formation of a multidisciplinary Integrated Marketing Team to develop long term strategic plans to meet student recruitment goals
- The attainment of increased visibility for the College by hosting events such as The Compassion Forum held in April 2008
Perhaps most important to President Phipps is working to continue to mold the institution into one that is defined by humility and hospitality.
“It is our collective responsibility to nurture a campus ethos rooted in humble, respectful dialogue because we sincerely believe that we have much to gain from others as well as much to give,” she explains.
Her ultimate goal is to model the Messiah community after the person of Jesus; to raise up a community of believers who allocate time and space for others, who offer willingness to share and listen, and who appreciate differing viewpoints. These qualities, she believes, must be embedded in the stones that lay the foundations of this educational community.
President Phipps certainly has high hopes for the College and sees that Messiah can reach even greater heights. With eyes set on continuing to promote the good work of Messiah’s students, educators, and alumni, she plans to enhance the following:
- The strength of Messiah’s reputation on a regional and national level through sharing the College’s stories of incredible students, faculty, and alumni
- An education program that is truly Christ-centered yet still culturally relevant in the 21st century
- The College’s fiscal strength in order to keep a Messiah education affordable
President Phipps is a busy woman, wearing numerous hats at Messiah as well as in the community. Yet she always sets aside time to support the endeavors of students and faculty. Whether she is showing her Falcon pride at an athletic competition, attending an art show, or any number of campus events, she is constantly inspired by the gifted and warm people of Messiah College. Eager to know students on a more personal level, President Phipps also frequently hosts events such as Open Door Days, Pizza with the Prez, and Prayer with the Prez.
President Phipps lives on campus with her husband, D. Kelly Phipps, J.D., adjunct professor of business law and independent business consultant, and their daughter, Brooke, a senior at Lancaster Mennonite High School.
What's been happening in the world during Kim Phipps' presidency?
- A 9.3 Richter scale earthquake generated a tsunami that claimed more than 290,000 lives from Indonesia to Sri Lanka, one of the most devastating natural disasters in history. A worldwide relief effort was mobilized to help those in need.
- Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast; more than 1,300 people were lost.
- In 2006, iTunes’ one billionth song was downloaded.
- Dr. Ian Frazer developed a vaccine to ward off cervical cancer.
- Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal of the Beijing Summer Olympics, surpassing Mark Spitz’ record of seven gold medals won in one Olympic game.
- President Bush signed a $700 billion dollar bailout to assist Wall Street and banking businesses across America
- The American public voted Barack Obama, the first African American president, into office.
- The World Health Organization declared a global pandemic with the spreading of the H1N1 Influenza virus.