July 20, 2010 — The Board of Trustees of Virginia Intermont College today named E. Clorisa "Clo" Phillips as the 17th president of the college and the first woman to hold the position. Phillips is currently the University of Virginia's associate provost for institutional effectiveness.
Phillips, who will hold the additional title of professor of public service and leadership, will join the Bristol, Va., college on Aug. 1.
"We feel very fortunate to have someone with her academic leadership and experience to lead Virginia Intermont into the 21st century," said Wayne Kennedy, chairman of the Board of Trustees. "She is well prepared to guide our institution as it positions itself for dynamic improvement and innovation. She will also be an energetic presence in the Bristol community."
U.Va. President John T. Casteen III, who hired Phillips for her first job at U.Va. in 1978, agreed.
"Her broad experience on the inside of the most important functions of higher education, knowledge of every aspect of leadership in a dynamic institution, personal readiness to take on the challenges of a presidency, intelligence and passion for the work itself make her an uncommonly good fit for Virginia Intermont," Casteen said.
Virginia Intermont is a private, coeducational undergraduate institution grounded in the liberal arts. Founded in 1884, it is affiliated with the Baptist General Association of Virginia. About 500 students are enrolled in the college, which boasts a 12-to-1 faculty-to-student ratio and offers bachelor of arts, fine arts, science and social work degrees, as well as associate in arts degrees.
Phillips told a gathering of the Virginia Intermont campus community following her appointment that she welcomes the opportunity to become part of the college's 126-year legacy.
"VI is a wonderful school," she said. "It has an important history, and it has a present full of promise. There is an amazing spirit and sense of family among the students, faculty, and staff and I am delighted to be part of the VI community. I look forward to leading Virginia Intermont College into the exciting future it deserves."
In her current position, Phillips oversees U.Va.'s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, and led its successful 2007 reaccreditation. In addition, as part of higher education restructuring in Virginia, she led the negotiation of the first guaranteed admission agreement between U.Va. and the Virginia Community College System. This year, she began a three-year term as trustee of the SACS Commission on Colleges.
Phillips has filled a wide range of administrative roles in her more than 30-year career at U.Va. She began in the Office of Admission and moved on to responsibilities in Human Resources, the president's office and, since 2002, in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. Her responsibilities have included overseeing the design, procurement and administration of benefits plans and services for faculty and staff members; development activities and capital projects in the arts; and international academic projects.
During her career at U.Va., she also took on a special assignment as assistant to the Commonwealth of Virginia's director of personnel and training, and served on the state's Health Insurance Advisory Committee and to TIAA/CREF's National Advisory Council.
She has held numerous appointments to state, regional and national advisory groups and committees.
Phillips, who turns 55 on Thursday, has a bachelor's degree in government from the College of William and Mary and master's and Ph.D. degrees in education from U.Va. Higher education is her academic interest, and her current writing project is on the role of philanthropy in academic standard-setting in the early 20th century.
She and her husband, Alexander B. Horniman, Killgallon Ohio Art Professor of Business Administration in the Darden School of Business, have a daughter, Eva Phillips, who is a rising second-year student at U.Va.