Wilson Phillips (’08)
If you were a student at CBU during the past 18 years, you already know Wilson Phillips. When he graduated from Christian Brothers High School in 2004, Wilson initially wanted to pursue a career in journalism. However, after visiting other campuses and feeling overwhelmed by their size, he decided that CBU was the environment that best fit him. Since CBU has no official journalism major, he became an English major upon entering as a freshman.
In his first weeks as a freshman, he took a work study position in the Office of Student Life (which is now the Office of Student Development and Campus Life). When he did, he immediately found a home. He worked there for the remainder of his time as a student at CBU— and has continued to do so ever since he graduated.
For most of his life, Wilson has been forced to overcome the day-to-day trials of living with a cerebral palsy. “When I came to CBU,” he says, “I quickly realized that my physical challenges weren’t going to define my college experience. I felt an immediate acceptance.”
As a student, Wilson was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, volunteered with Up ’Til Dawn (a fundraiser for ALSAC/St. Jude), and worked in Campus Ministry. Outside of school, he served as a United Methodist Youth Director and mentor for students in middle and high school.
This love for serving others eventually led him to switch his major from English to Religion and Philosophy, which grew out of his work in Campus Ministry and a desire to know more about the rich faith tradition he saw around him.
“As a student, my favorite memories were the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Final Exam Study Break Meals,” Wilson recalls today. “Also, the opportunities I had to raise awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with Up Til Dawn and the Dream Factory of Memphis with Tau Kappa Epsilon. And how could I ever forget all the words of encouragement I received from Ms. Sadie [Lisenby]?”
In his post-graduation career at CBU, Wilson has remained a core member of the Student Development and Campus Life staff, and he also served as a Director of Campus Ministry for several years. Over the last 14 years, he has been helping students on a daily basis with matters both large and small, and often serves as a beacon of institutional knowledge that reminds the CBU community where it’s been, and where it can go. Since you can always find him scootering around campus, whether it’s at 9:00 in the morning or 9:00 at night, Wilson’s presence is as familiar as the beloved arches that shepherd the thousands of students that pass through them.
“As an employee, I am blessed to be involved in planning Welcome Weekend each August and Commencement every May,” Wilson says. “It’s a true honor to watch so many fellow CBU alumni walk across the stage every year at graduation — while also remembering their very first days as a Buccaneer.”
Wilson is definitely one of the people who make CBU such a rare environment. If you need him, he’s there in a heartbeat. This is the place that made him feel welcomed and accepted, so he strives to make sure that others have the same experience that he did.
“In my years working for the university, I seek to foster a sense of belonging and acceptance for our students. Everyone needs just a small group of people whose support is unconditional. If I can offer that to a student or a colleague, I am grateful.”
His continued service to the University and its mission has never gone unrecognized. In 2019, CBU recognized Wilson with its Distinguished Young Alumnus Award. And he was honored as the Distinguished Lasallian Educator in 2020-21 — the highest honor bestowed upon a CBU employee by the faculty, staff, and administration.
I’ve been at CBU half of my life. I never intended to be here for this long; however, I can’t really imagine being anywhere else. I am indebted to the Brothers; my colleagues, past and present; my fraternity brothers; and the countless alumni who have helped to craft my Lasallian story.