Valerie Phillips, 56, Andrews Dean and Review Columnist, Passes to Her Rest
Shared reflections on college life, and beyond, in prose and poetry

BY ADVENTIST REVIEW staff, with information from KERI SUAREZ, Media Relations Specialist, Andrews University

Valerie Phillips, 56, assistant to the dean for the University Towers dormitory at church-owned Andrews University, was found deceased in her Berrien Springs, Michigan, home on Wednesday, December 21, 2011, of an apparent heart attack.

Phillips dedicated 31 years of her professional career to Andrews University. She joined the Andrews family in 1980, first as an assistant dean and, since 1986, as an associate dean of women for Lamson Hall. In August 2011, she transitioned from Lamson Hall to serve as assistant to the dean for University Towers.

Valerie graduated in 1972 from Union Springs Academy in Union Springs, N.Y. She studied religion, behavioral science and English at Atlantic Union College, South Lancaster, Mass., where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1978. While in school, she was a volunteer at Worcester Memorial Hospital in Worcester, Mass.

BELOVED WORKER: Andrews University residence hall dean Valerie Phillips, 56, was found deceased at her home on December 21, 2011. She was also a longtime columnist for and contributor to Adventist Review magazine. [PHOTO: AU]
After graduation, Phillips took an assistant chaplain position at Battle Creek Sanitarium and Hospital where she ministered until 1980.

In 1980, Arlene Friestad, then the dean of women at Lamson Hall, invited Valerie to speak at the first annual Womanhood Week at Andrews University. Dean Friestad was so impressed by Valerie she invited her to join the residence hall staff at Lamson.

Phillips not only ministered to the women in her care at Andrews, but also shared reflections and insights gained from her experiences as a regular columnist for Adventist Review magazine, where her poetry also appeared.

Valerie was known for her warm and compassionate spirit, her quick wit and exceptional wisdom, and care for her students. At the 2011 Faculty Staff Awards Banquet at Andrews University, Valerie was honored for 30 years of service.

“It is rare to find in one individual both amazing wit and great compassion,” said Bill Knott, Adventist Review editor, who knew Valerie Phillips for nearly 40 years.  “As decades of Andrews students and faculty know, she was a ‘pastor without portfolio’ to that campus, ministering God’s grace with kindness, humor, and clear-eyed realism.  Her years as a columnist for the Adventist Review endeared her to tens of thousands of readers around the globe and to each of us who were privileged to work with her and enjoy her skill as a wordsmith.  On a personal level, my family and I have lost—but only for now—one of the dearest persons we know, and we go forward with the confident expectation of enjoying her laughter and love again when Jesus raises one of His most sparkling saints.”

Two sisters and one brother survive Dean Phillips; funeral arrangements are pending.

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