Georgette Chapman Phillips, a well-respected name in the business education community and vice dean of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has been chosen to lead Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics.

Phillips was selected as dean from among a group of top-notch international scholars and educators at a critical time in the college’s history, officials at the Bethlehem, Pa. university said.

“She is a renowned scholar and an experienced academic leader who brings significant international and corporate experience,” Lehigh President Alice P. Gast said in a statement. “This is a pivotal time for the college, and I am excited that she will bring her talents to Lehigh.”

Phillips assumes her position on July 1 and will lead 1,813 students and 79 full-time faculty members in the college’s undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs.

Provost Patrick V. Farrell said he was pleased with Phillips’ willingness to work with the college’s faculty to raise the profile of the school in the competitive global business education arena.

“What resonates most about Georgette is her interest in working with talented business faculty. She is passionate about business education and research within a global context, and she has a strong interest in working collaboratively with her peers to build an exemplary business program here at Lehigh,” he said in a statement.

Phillips will join Lehigh after a 21-year career at the University of Pennsylvanis, where she has also served as the vice dean of the Wharton Undergraduate Division, a professor of real estate and legal studies at Wharton, a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a professor of Africana Studies in Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences, according to her biography.

An accomplished administrator, Phillips’ leadership at Wharton was marked by innovation, officials said. Highlights included increasing the number of female and minority students at Wharton to historic levels, expanding international learning programs, creating new summer research programs both domestically and abroad, and creating a academic concentration in social impact and responsibility.

Phillips is also an internationally recognized, award-winning scholar whose instruction and research focused on the intersection of law, economics and public policy as it relates to the man-made environment.

The long-time educator said the Lehigh business school is “poised for distinction” and she is “thrilled and honored” to be chosen to lead it in that direction.

“There’s a strong business foundation at Lehigh on which to build,” she said. “And the College of Business and Economics is in a great position to be a national leader and advocate of important undergraduate and graduate programs emphasizing such timely areas as globalization, entrepreneurship and technology.”

Phillips said she was particularly drawn by Lehigh’s world class faculty, highly-ranked programs and a high level of cross-functionality that allows faculty and students to break through disciplinary barriers.

“Add the dedicated and skillful staff to this mix,” she said, “and it was clear that Lehigh presented an exceptional opportunity that I could not pass up. I look forward to working with the college’s faculty, staff, students and alumni along with my university colleagues in building the next stage of the [College of Business and Economics.”

In addition to her duties as dean, Phillips will be a professor in the college’s department of finance.


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO