Chatham University in Pittsburgh Names Rhonda Phillips as Its Twentieth President

The board of trustees of Chatham University in Pittsburgh has voted unanimously to name Rhonda Phillips as the university’s twentieth president. When she begins her tenure this summer, Dr. Phillips will be the tenth woman to hold the presidency in Chatham’s 154-year history.

“Enhancing student experiences is a passion for me and I am thrilled to lead the university that influenced Rachel Carson to shape new environmental standards while leaving a legacy that influenced my own and countless others’ work in sustainable development. I am also drawn to Chatham’s unique combination of strengths in the health sciences, sustainability, women’s leadership, and the liberal arts and sciences that produce students willing to respond to the opportunities and big challenges facing society today,” said Dr. Phillips.

Chatham was chartered on December 11, 1869, under the name Pennsylvania Female College. In 1890 the name of the institution was changed to Pennsylvania College for Women, and in 1955 the name was changed again to Chatham College. The college transitioned to university status in 2007 and in 2014 admitted men to undergraduate programs. Today, Chatham University enrolls more than 1,400 undergraduate students and nearly 1,000 graduate students according to the most recent statistics available from the U.S. Department of Education. Women make up 74 percent of the undergraduate student body.

Dr. Phillips has been serving as dean of the Honors College at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Earlier, she was associate dean for the Honors College, at Arizona State University, where she also served as professor and director of the School of Community Resources and Development. She also has held faculty and administrator roles at the University of Florida and the University of Southern Mississippi.

Dr. Phillips holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in economic development from the University of Southern Mississippi. She earned a master’s degree in economics and a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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