Charles Franklin Phillips

The youngest president, selected at 34, Charles F. Phillips was a full professor at Colgate and a leading economist before coming to Bates. He had also taught at Hobart College, and at the time of his interview at Bates was on leave from Colgate and working for the U.S. government in the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supplies as deputy administrator in charge of rationing.

At Bates, Phillips initiated the Bates Plan of Education, a liberal-arts “core” study program, and developed the “3/4 option” which allowed students to complete their college education in three years if they desired. He also saw the campus expand with the additions of Memorial Commons, the Health Center, Dana Chemistry Hall, Lane Hall, a new Maintenance Center, Page Hall, Pettigrew Hall, Treat Art Gallery, and Schaeffer Theater. Phillips also added full-time administrators to the College staff: an alumni secretary, a director of admissions, a dean of men, and an assistant to the President.

Known for bridging the gap between the academic and business worlds, Phillips won many friends for the College, and often encouraged young graduates not to join a big company, but to start their own. Convinced that the American economic and political systems thrive on competition, Phillips applied this theory to Bates College and its graduates. In his inauguration address he quoted Edison: “Genius [required to make it big] is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” During his time at Bates, Phillips lived by this adage – he was famous for keeping a tight schedule, with or without a clock, and for working late hours.

President Phillips retired on Dec. 31, 1966, leaving a student body of 1,004 and an endowment of $6,938,000. He lived in Auburn after retirement and passed away in 1998.