Who is Donna Phillips?
She came to Western Illinois in Fall 1967 as an instructor in physical education. Throughout her career, she taught activity, theory and jazz dance courses. She was promoted to assistant professor in 1973, associate professor in 1979 and professor in 1987. In 1985, when the men's and women's physical education departments combined into one department, Phillips became the undergraduate program coordinator. She served as department chair from July 1, 1993 until her retirement March 31, 2004, following 37 years of service. She has been credited with starting Western's fitness education program (now called exercise science program), which was featured in the October 1988 edition of the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (JOPERD). Also during her tenure, the athletic training education program received a letter of initial accreditation from the Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (1999). There were less than 100 accredited programs in the U.S. at that time.
Phillips received Western's former College of Health, Physical Education and Recreation Outstanding Teacher Award (1989), and she earned the Illinois Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (IAPHERD) Service Award (1992). Both of those years, Phillips was also a recipient of WIU Faculty Excellence Awards; and she was named to Who's Who in American Education in 1992. In 1994, Phillips was initiated into Western's chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.
She was among 45 women - - 26 of whom were contemporary - - who were featured in the "Women of Western Centennial Photographic Exhibit" during Western's Centennial celebration in 1999-2000.
Throughout her Western Illinois career, Phillips served on numerous departmental, college, University, state and national committees. She was a member of several North Central Accreditation teams. She served IAHPERD as chair of the physical education state curriculum committee and as a past president.
Phillips was also an active member of the national American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). In Fall 2002, she was presented with the AAHPERD College and University Administrators Council's (CUAC) Honor Award, based on professional involvement at the state, district and national levels. She was cited for her service to the profession through CUAC and her leadership on the American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness (AAALF) executive board and awards committee. That same fall, she also was awarded the IAHPERD service award.
The Western Organization for Women (WOW) presented Phillips with its 2004 WOW Achievement Award, which honors women who make extraordinary contributions to Western through mentoring, supporting or promoting women colleagues, coworkers or students.
Phillips was one of two women first inducted into the WIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989. She was a highly successful badminton coach for 13 years (1971-1983), guiding Western's teams to eight of nine Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) national tournaments. In each of those appearances, WIU placed in the top six teams. Phillips coached Western to third place nationally in 1972, with Robin Bender earning second place in singles competition. From 1975-1983, Phillips led more than a dozen competitors to the quarterfinal rounds in AIAW national tournaments. She also served as host and tournament director for two AIAW nationals in Macomb (1975, 1981). She was active in the National Collegiate Badminton Coaches' Council, which she served a term as chair.
Phillips was a current member of the Board of Directors for Western Illinois University's State University Annuitants Association (SUAA), which she had served as past president. She was also a member of Small Paws® Rescue Inc., a rescue organization for Bichons.
She was born in Decatur (IL) and earned her bachelor's degree in physical education from Eastern Illinois University (1964), her master's degree in physical education from Western Illinois University (1967) and her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University (1977).
Phillips was an avid skier, and she enjoyed playing tennis and riding her horse. She was a member of the Macomb Road Runners and Western's Harry Mussatto Golf Course.