John Lawrence Phillips, former Dean of Students at Boise State, passed away on June 16 at the age of 93.
Phillips began his Boise State career in 1955. After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Utah, he was appointed director of testing and counseling, and chairman of the (two-person) Department of Psychology of what was then Boise Junior College. Three years later he was appointed dean of students, and two years after that he became chairman of the Division of Social Sciences. Through all of this he continued to teach psychology courses and many former students have remarked over the years about how memorable his classes were, and his impact on both their personal and educational development.
In 1969, the institution had become Boise State College. A new College of Education incorporated the Psychology Department and Phillips was chosen as its chairman. It was a position that he would occupy until his retirement from Boise State 20 years later.
While employed at Boise Junior College, Boise College, Boise State College and Boise State University, Phillips participated in numerous professional and profession-related activities. He served on many faculty committees and was chairman of some, including the one that wrote the constitution for a faculty senate in 1969. Outside the university, he addressed, on various occasions, the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, the Idaho Psychological Association and many local gatherings, mostly of teachers or counselors in the public schools of the Treasure Valley. He was a member of several professional associations and served at different times as president of the Idaho Psychological Association, of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors, and of the advisory board of the Intermountain Clinical Pastoral Education Center. He served also as chairman of the Idaho Psychological Association (IPA) ethics committee and of an IPA committee on psychology in the high schools.
In 1966, Gov. Cecil Andrus appointed him to the Idaho Board of Psychologist Examiners; he became chairman the following year and continued to serve in that capacity through the remainder of that term plus two more four-year terms. When he retired from the university in 1988, he was awarded one of two Silver Medallions presented to faculty that year for outstanding service to the university.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to Planned Parenthood of Idaho or to the Boise State University Foundation. Your donations will help support the psychology department.
A celebration of his life, including music, memories and visual artifacts, will begin at 1 p.m. Monday, July 3, at the Esther Simplot Ballroom on the second floor of the Student Union Building at Boise State. Free parking is available in the Lincoln garage across from the Student Union. All are welcome to come share a memory, or just remember and honor Phillips and enjoy the music.