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Biography & Photos

Kim S. Phipps, Ph.D.

President of Messiah College


Kim S. Phipps, Ph.D., was named the eighth president of Messiah College in December 2004. She is the first woman president in the College’s history. Prior to her appointment as president, Dr. Phipps served as Messiah's interim president, provost and academic dean. She holds a Ph.D. in communication studies from Kent State University.

An advocate for academic excellence and holistic student learning, Dr. Phipps is an accessible leader who builds shared vision and authentic relationships with colleagues and students, and fosters a strong, nurturing academic community as a result.

Dr. Phipps is an active member of the Central Pennsylvania community and demonstrates Messiah’s commitment to civic engagement by serving on local boards: She is vice chair of the board of directors for the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra; past board president of the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg; and board member for Keystone Human Services and the Susquehanna Art Museum​. In addition, Dr. Phipps represents Messiah nationally as past chair of the Board of Directors of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and as a board member of the Council for Independent Colleges. She also serves as a board member of AICUP – the private college member association for the state of Pennsylvania.

In recognition of her coPhipps Familyntributions to Christian higher education and local community involvement, Dr. Phipps has been awarded several honors including being distinguished by Christianity Today as one of 50 key leaders shaping the evangelical church and North American society (2012); received the Athena Award from the Harrisburg Regional Chamber/CREDC for her demonstration of excellent in her profession and commitment to mentoring women leaders (2012); honored by the Salvation Army of the Harrisburg Capital Region for exemplary service and social responsibility (2012); and noted as one of the region’s “25 Most Influential Women” by the Central Penn Business Journal (2010).

Dr. Phipps is a native of Long Island, N.Y., and lives on campus with her husband, D. Kelly Phipps, J.D. Their daughter Brooke is currently working in Seattle, W.A.

Educational and professional background

Dr. Phipps has researched and authored numerous publications related to the structure, rhetoric, and climate of higher education; the development of educational community; faculty development and identity; gender and diversity communication issues; and the complexities and nuances of religion and American political campaign rhetoric. Dr. Phipps has spoken nationally at numerous conferences on the topic of developing hospitable campus climates.

Before coming to Messiah, she served in a variety of leadership roles at Malone College in Canton, Ohio, including professor and chair of the department of communication arts, acting dean of the college, and associate dean for faculty development.

Significant Messiah College initiatives accomplished during Dr. Phipps' presidency to date include:

Academic Offerings

  • The implementation of graduate education into the College’s academic offerings. Masters programs are now available in counseling, conducting, business and strategic leadershipeducation, higher education, and nursing with occupational and physical therapy (to be launched in 2017).
  • The initiation of the College's core course, "Created and Called for Community," which is an integral part of Messiah's curriculum for first-year students. The course serves as a critical introduction to Messiah College's unique heritage, mission, and identity. The core curriculum also included the launch of the College's Common Reading Program, in which first-year students read a common text selected specifically to educate students on essential themes related to intellectual and Christian faith development.

Resource stewardship

  • Leading the College’s current Campaign for Wellness.
  • The successful completion of the Centennial Campaign, a $40 million fundraising endeavor that exceeded its fundraising goal by raising $46.2 million for student scholarships and the construction of the Calvin and Janet High Center for Worship and Performing Arts Center, which opened in January 2013.
  • The successful completion of "To Serve and To Lead" the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in Messiah's history, which raised $50.5 million for student enrichment through new facilities, academic programming, and financial aid.

Strategic Planning

  • Facilitating the College’s strategic plan for 2012-2016, a comprehensive planning document that identifies key vision, themes and goals for Messiah’s second century.
  • The launch of a College-wide Diversity Strategic Planning Initiative, rooted in a comprehensive, candid survey of Messiah's campus climate related to a wide range of diversity aspects in the campus community.
  • The completion of the first phase of a new campus Concept Plan which will guide the College's facilities and land use planning and development through the year 2050.

Increased Visibility

  • Messiah has hosted prominent national speakers, recently including recently including Ken Burns, Bob Woodward, Doris Kearns Goodwin, David Brooks, Helene Cooper, Tony Dungy, Henry Louis Gates, Leymah Gbowee, James Davidson Hunter, Eric Metaxas, Joni Eareckson Tada and Philip Yancey.
  • Actively encourages students, alumni, parents and other friends of the college to friend her on Facebook. Maintains Twitter and Instagram accounts (@messiahprez) and has championed the College’s creative and frequent use of social media for the purpose of building and maintaining relationships.
  • The launch of a new marketing communications campaign, inviting students and others to "See Anew" based on the research of the College’s two-year strategic branding initiative.
  • Celebrated Messiah’s Centennial in 2009-2010 with a series of special events to remember the important people and initiatives of College’s first century while looking ahead to the promise and possibility of Messiah’s next 100 years. The Centennial year was themed: “Shared faith. Bold vision. Enduring promise.”
  • Hosting The Compassion Forum in April 2008, a nationally televised, unprecedented conversation with presidential candidates on the integration of faith and public policy.
  • The formation of a multidisciplinary Integrated Marketing Team responsible for developing a long term strategic plan for meeting the College's student recruitment goals.