As the 2016-2017 academic year drew to a close, professors, staff and former students of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) bid farewell to its long-serving member, Dion E. Phillips, professor of sociology.

Phillips joined the University of the Virgin Islands (then the College of the Virgin Islands) in 1983, fresh from teaching at Howard University where he attained his doctorate.

Over the years, Phillips came to be synonymous with sociology at UVI, having taught generations of students. Colleagues, staff and students laud him as epitomizing “student-centeredness.”

His commitment to the institution found him serving two stints as chair of the Social Sciences Department as well as acting dean, CLASS. As a leader, he offered sage advice to colleagues, instilled inspiration and motivation and led by example in the area of published research.

Reminiscing with other long-serving and retired members of CLASS at the retirement celebration, Phillips said he “was humbled and honored by the opportunity to serve” under four of the university’s five presidents, “but life and other ventures call me onward.”

His colleagues, including former V.I. governor and history professor Charles W. Turnbull; attorney Clive Rivers, a former student, and others thanked Phillips for his 34 years of unbroken service to the university and for the many students he taught and inspired.

It was noted that during his tenure and in service to the community, Phillips published numerous articles in Caribbean newspapers, including The Virgin Islands Daily News, one of the most recent being “Carnival and the Church.”