Class of 2019
Jim Phillips

Jim Phillips became Northwestern University’s 21st director of intercollegiate athletics and recreation in April of 2008, bringing with him a track record of success in Division I level and a commitment to the values Northwestern has maintained in collegiate athletics. Four years into his tenure, NU President Morton Schapiro elevated Phillips to the position of Combe Family Vice-President for Athletics & Recreation. One of ten children from a middle-class family, a native of the Portage Park neighborhood and Our Lady of Victory parish on Chicago’s northwest side, Phillips has proven to be the perfect fit to lead Northwestern’s 19-sport program in the nation’s No. 3 market. His deep Windy City roots and family orientation are an integral part of his philosophy of providing student-athletes with a “world-class” experience that enables them to thrive academically, socially, and athletically. Phillips has pursued an aggressive plan to insure success in and out of competition, embarking on a number of major projects. During his tenure, Northwestern student-athletes have set a national standard in the classroom, in the community and in competition. Wildcats posted a record GPA last year, as well as the nation’s top Graduation Success Rate, 100% service participation, and championships in several sports. Phillips was recognized as the 2018 Athletic Director of the Year by SportsBusiness Journal, serves on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, and was elected by his peers as the inaugural chair of the NCAA Division I Council, the first-ever sitting athletic director on the NCAA Board of Directors. This spring he was honored as a Champion of Diversity & Inclusion by the NCAA, recognizing commitment to support of underrepresented populations in college athletics administration. Over the last decade, Northwestern has made dramatic investments in student-athlete well-being, in areas such as academic support, athletic training, performance nutrition, professional development, mental health resources and sports medicine. Simultaneously, athletics and recreation has undergone a facilities transformation alongside Lake Michigan in Evanston, with the new Walter Athletics Center, Ryan Fieldhouse and Welsh-Ryan Arena all opening in 2018. Phillips and his wife, Laura, have five children: Luke, Madeline, Meredith, John and James.

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