Chip Phillips ’77 Retires After 43 Years of Service to Ferrum College

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Chip Phillips ’77 Retires After 43 Years of Service to Ferrum College

After holding at least eight different positions over 43 years of service to Ferrum College, alumnus and – most recently – former Director of Residence Life and Housing Chip Phillips ’77 retired at the end of June 2020. 

“I will never forget all the students, co-workers, faculty, staff, and summer guests that I met and got to know over the years,” said Phillips. “I built some lifelong relationships and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at Ferrum as long as I did.”

Phillips arrived at Ferrum College in 1973 as a Carroll County High School graduate. He earned his associates degree in 1975 and then a bachelors degree in leisure services in 1977. As a new alumnus and member of Ferrum’s second four-year graduating class, Phillips immediately stepped in to a position as residence hall director at the College.

That was when Phillips started dating his future wife, Martha Arnold. Martha, who received a bachelors degree in social work, was the very first Ferrum student to graduate in 1976 with a four-year degree from the institution. 

“Martha and I knew each other as students, but really didn’t start ‘hanging out’ together until we both had graduated. Martha had been working at Ferrum for a year and I had just graduated and began working right after,” remembered Phillips. 

The couple married in October 1977, bought a house on Arthur Circle, and raised their two daughters, Jennifer and Sydney, steeping their small family in Ferrum’s genuine, close-knit community. 

Over the years, Phillips held various positions at the College: director of traffic and parking; director of campus safety; director of administrative services, which included telephone services, cable television, and student employment; emergency services; campus safety; director of summer programs; and director of Residence Life and Housing, “with some additional responsibilities and titles in between,” added Phillips.

On June 30, 2020 Phillips retired from his most recent post as director of Residence Life and Housing. 

“We are so grateful for Chip’s leadership in the Office of Student Life, and at Ferrum College for the past 43 years,” said Dean of Student Life Nicole Lenez, who worked with Phillips for three years. “His wisdom and work ethic have been invaluable! Transitions can sometimes be painful, but Chip has left us with so much knowledge to continue doing our good work. We all wish him and Martha the best and hope that they make many memories on the beach with their grandbabies.”

“I’ll never forget the time Martha and I spent on campus,” Phillips said. “We’ve really enjoyed Ferrum athletics, especially Ferrum football. We’ve attended many of the games over 43-plus years! And we’re still in Ferrum, so we’ll continue to support the College in any way that we can.”

View photos from Phillips’ retirement celebration here. Photos are by Bob Pohlad.


The Chip Phillips Scholarship Fund

The “Chip Phillips Scholarship Fund” has been created by the Office of Student Life and Engagement to honor Phillips’ years of service to the College. As a member of the Tri-Area Community Health Center Board of Directors, Phillips discovered the need for quality nurses; therefore, the scholarship seeks to support a deserving student(s) who plans to enroll in Ferrum College’s nursing program and hails from Franklin, Carroll, Floyd, Patrick, or Grayson counties.

To make a donation to the “Chip Phillips Scholarship Fund”, please visit, click the “Give Now” button, select “other” in the gift designation drop-down box, and type “Chip Phillips Scholarship Fund” in the box to designate a tribute gift.