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Former Phillips Students Return Home

November 13, 2010

By Joe Malan, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

In 1962, Rick Hendricks was a freshman at Phillips University.

Coming from a graduating class of about 600 people in Oklahoma City, Hendricks was not used to the small, rural setting the university provided.

But he went on to cherish the experience.

"What I remember most is everybody knew everybody," the 1966 Phillips University graduate said Saturday at Phillips University Legacy Foundation leadership conference.

The foundation hosted the conference at the group’s namesake for the first time since its inception.

"One of my favorite remembrances was when I was a freshman and I was very young and away from home and really for the first time being any distance from home," Hendricks said. "My college professor ... who was a very large guy, he had a voice that would just crack a window."

"I came (to Phillips) in late August and it was November, so I'd been in his class for a couple of months and it was the week of my birthday. I heard a knock on the door (at my dorm) and here stood (the professor)."

"And he said, 'Mr. Hendricks.' ... I was nervous, I thought, 'What had I done?' He said, 'I understand this is your birthday.' This is a professor, you know. And I said, 'Well, yeah,' and he said, 'I understood you got a package from home today.' And I said, 'Yes I did, sir.' And (he said) 'Am I to understand there were chocolate chip cookies in that package?' I said 'Yes, sir.' And he said, 'Well, are you going to invite me in for one or not?'"

"That's the kind of place Phillips was. The professors knew who you were; they were a part of your life."

Hendricks would go on to get his undergraduate degree in religion in 1966, along with minors in education and history. He would continue to attend Phillips as part of seminary training until 1969.

Memories

Barbara Angle, a 1955 graduate of Phillips University, also remembered the close-knit community and the professors.

"The professors were great," she said. "They took an interest in individual students and helped you get what you really needed."

"The experience of living in the dorm was fun, (as was) getting (to know) all the other kids."

Angle graduated with a bachelor of arts and would go on to get her graduate degree.

Angle's husband, Don Angle, graduated with a bachelor in divinity as well as a master of fine arts. He, too, graduated in 1955.

"I think more than just one specific thing, there was the whole general atmosphere (that) was a caring atmosphere between professors and students," Don Angle said. "They cared about the students, about what (they) learned and tried to facilitate you in whatever profession you were going into."

Angle said an example was when he was in the Bible college and the curriculum required you to take Greek. Angle said he knew his profession would take him into a French-speaking country, so the professors let him substitute French for Greek.

Campus today

Hendricks, Barbara Angle and Don Angle all said they were proud of how the Phillips University campus has been preserved.

"I think it looks great," Hendricks said. "What I'm pleased with is they've maintained the same names and stuff like that so they keep that connection with both campuses."

"I am really pleased with what NOC (Northern Oklahoma College) has done," Barbara Angle said. "They have kept our building names that honor different people. They have done a lot of maintenance on the campus and made it look very nice."

"I'm proud of it," he said. "It was a heartbreaking tragedy when Phillips closed."

"When Northern bought it, I thought, 'Well, there it goes.' But they have kept it up well, they’ve improved the facilities, paved the parking lots, upkept (the Marshall building) and the chapel, which is priceless. They've done a lot of work."

Legacy Scholars

At Saturday's leadership conference, Phillips University Legacy Scholars got to interact with alumni of Phillips University and go on a tour of the campus.

The tour started in the university chapel with a talk about the stained-glass artwork inside. After that, scholars got to view several buildings on campus. The tour finished at the pillars that stand on the east side of the old campus.

The Legacy Scholars program was founded from the money left over from the university when it closed. The $3 million that was left is being used to fund scholarships for students.

The program assists undergraduate students who will attend one of 17 colleges and universities affiliated with the Christian Church.