The People: Ken Phillips Sr.

MSU Denver’s first president, the late Ken Phillips, invested a lifetime of passion at the University.

Publish Date: April 22, 2013

Ken Phillips
 ‌‌Ken Phillips was MSU Denver’s first president.

‌‌Ken Phillips, Metropolitan State University of Denver’s first president, passed away on Feb. 22, 2013, after a short illness. He was residing in Pasadena, Calif., at the time of his death at the age of 93

Phillips began at MSU Denver before it even opened its doors. He dedicated his time to promoting what was then called Metropolitan State College, and thanks in large part to his efforts, 1,189 students registered for the opening semester.

His son Ken Phillips is chair and associate professor of industrial design at MSU Denver. He says his father was very passionate about the University and took great pride in how it has evolved.

“I think my dad felt his greatest accomplishments at Metro were getting the college up and running in two months—an incredible feat—and the progress he made politically to get Denver’s legislators to realize Metro’s potential, which of course has been realized.”

Although Phillips resigned from MSU Denver in 1972, his passion for MSU Denver continued long after retirement, and at the age of 91 he shared his MSU Denver experiences with the Alumni Relations History Project.

“He was a kind and gentle man with tremendous enthusiasm for the original mission of Metropolitan State, which was to provide an affordable and excellent education to badly underserved students in the metropolitan area,” says history department Chair and Professor Steven Leonard.


Did President Ken Phillips make a difference in your life? Honor his memory with a contribution to the University’s General Scholarship Fund.