Bill Phillips has been an enthusiastic supporter of Purdue students through the years. He’s spoken to Purdue science classes, conducted mock interviews with students and recruited graduates for his employer, Abbott Laboratories.
“It’s always the student that drives my dedication,” says Phillips, a learning and development manager who earned his Purdue bachelor’s degree in biological sciences in 1978. “I put myself in their shoes. No one gave me a game plan when I was in graduate school, so I feel compelled to tell students about all the ways they can use their science degrees.” About two years ago, Phillips established a will bequest to support the Department of Biological Sciences. Though the gift is unrestricted, it’s likely that some of the funding will support Phillips’ biggest philanthropic cause — enabling students to do research during the summer. He sponsored three Purdue interns in summer 2011. “It’s inspiring to give students the opportunity to do something they wouldn’t have been able to do because of money,” Phillips says. “And maybe some of them don’t end up liking research, but they learn something from the internship that leads them to something else they do like. Regardless, it’s a life-changing experience.”