Phillips University

Phillips University was a private, coeducational institution of higher education located in Enid, Oklahoma, United States, from 1906 to 1998. It was affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). It included an undergraduate college and a graduate seminary. The university was also home to the Enid-Phillips Symphony Orchestra, and its campus regularly hosted events for the Tri-State Music Festival.

Phillips University
Phillips University Pillars.jpg
Pillars from the Sunken Gardens at Phillips University
MottoVincit Omnia Veritas
Motto in English
Truth conquers all things
AffiliationChristian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Location, ,
CampusPurchased in June 1999 by Northern Oklahoma College
Colorsmaroon and black
NicknameHaymakers/Fillies(women's teams)
AffiliationsPhillips University Alumni Association
MascotLil Hay (a skunk)


Originally named Oklahoma Christian University, the school was founded by Dr. Ely Vaughn Zollars on October 9, 1906. Enid-area businessmen raised $150,000 and purchased a 40-acre (160,000 m2) campus east of Enid. Though ultimately the university would base its teachings on the Disciples of Christ denomination, the committee to bring a university to Enid had a more diverse religious background: Edmund Frantz (Presbyterian), Frank Hamilton (United Brethren, Disciple), Al Loewen (Jewish), J.M. Pieratt (Disciple), and Everett Purcell (Presbyterian).[1] Funding for the operation of the University was supplied by T. W. Phillips of Butler, Pennsylvania and the Disciples of Christ Churches of Oklahoma. Following Phillips' death in 1912 the University was renamed in his honor.[2] During World War II, the Permanente ship builders manufactured a victory ship named after the university called the SS Phillips Victory (VC2-S-AP2, MC Hull Number 758).[3]

Oklahoma Christian University held its first classes September 17, 1907.[2] The first year's enrollment was 256 students, and of the freshman class, only 20 had completed high school.[4] Phillips High School was created in 1907 as a preparatory school at the same time to prepare students for college-level courses, and continued operations until 1925.[5] The school became affiliated with the North Central Association of Colleges on March 23, 1919, and in the American Association of Colleges in 1920.[5]

In 1987, Phillips Graduate Seminary incorporated as a freestanding institution independent of Phillips University. It is now known as Phillips Theological Seminary, and is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[6] Currently, Phillips Theological Seminary houses the transcripts of the alumni of Phillips University.[7]

Phillips University also ran a graduate business school which awarded MBA degrees, and was well recognized in the states of Oklahoma and Texas. It also had a large international community of students from more than 20 countries.


The school's sports teams were called the Haymakers. For one year, 1920, the school was a member of the Southwest Athletic Conference. Between 1917 and 1920, John Maulbetsch was the head football coach at Phillips University.[8] Maulbetsch was an All-American running back at the University of Michigan in 1914, where he earned the nickname the "Human Bullet". With his name recognition, he was able to recruit big-name talent to Phillips, including future Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Owen, and future United States Olympic Committee President Doug Roby. Maulbetsch quickly turned Phillips into a major contender in the southwest, as his teams beat Oklahoma and Texas and lost only one game in the 1918 and 1919 seasons. The 1919 team, known as "Mauley's Iron Men", was considered by many experts to be the finest football squad in the southwest that season.[9]

After defeating the Oklahoma and Texas football teams, the "Haymakers" gained a reputation as “one of the strongest teams in the southwest.”[10][11] When Phillips defeated Texas 10-0 in Austin, Texas in October 1919, the Longhorns had not lost a game since 1917.[12] One Texas newspaper reported that Phillips had "whitewashed the Longhorns in their own corral."[13]

As a result of Phillips' success, it was admitted to the Southwest Conference for the 1920 season. However, with the loss of several key players from the previous squads, Phillips fell to 4-5-1 record, failed to score a single point in conference play and immediately dropped out of the conference. Maulbetsch was hired to coach Oklahoma A&M in 1921. Unable to sustain its previous success, the program's reputation faded; the school finally closed the program in 1933.[9]

Subsequently, Phillips University baseball and basketball teams were in the NAIA. From 1952 through 1981, Phillips University baseball teams dominated their division. Coached by Dr. Joe Record during this period, the Haymakers compiled a 648-294 record for a .688 winning percentage.[14] Three of Record's teams went to the NAIA World Series. He was the NAIA Coach of the Year in 1973, and inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1975.

Phillips University JapanEdit

In 1989 Phillips University opened a 12-acre branch campus at the Kyoto Institute of Technology and Science in Japan. Students at the Japanese campus earned credits towards a Phillips degree, and were required to complete a one-year residency on the Enid campus. Faculty members from the Enid campus taught some classes in Japan.[15][16] The arrangement also allowed students from the Enid campus to earn part of their required credits abroad at the Osaka campus. In 1992 Phillips University filed suit against Phillips Japan Co., Ltd, the private entity which ran its academic programs in Japan, along with the Kyoto Institute of Technology and Science, and Tanezo Yamasaki, chief director of the institute. The suit alleged that the defendants failed to pay taxes to the Japanese government, withheld funds due to Phillips University to pay some taxes which they were responsible for paying according to the contract, and alleged unauthorized use of the Phillips University name.[17] In April 1995, Phillips University International (PUI) was created with the new purpose of taking American education in Japan a step further by creating a new bilingual and bicultural academic program. In the fall of 1996, PUI moved its campus to a growing suburban area of Kyoto Prefecture, Kyotanabe City, and became an independent educational entity under the new name of Kyoto International University.

Bankruptcy, closure, and Legacy FoundationEdit

The Marshall Building on the former Phillips campus.

Due to serious financial problems and decreasing enrollment,[18] Phillips filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 1, 1998, and closed its doors four months later.[19] The seminary survives as the Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which also houses transcripts for alumni of Phillips University. The university was not affiliated with Phillips Petroleum, which was located in nearby Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

After the bankruptcy of the university in 1998, the liquidation of assets yielded $3 million in funds for the formation of the Phillips University Legacy Foundation (PULF), which awards annual scholarships and provides leadership training to undergraduate students attending Disciples of Christ-related colleges and universities. From 2002–2015, the Legacy Foundation awarded 367 scholarships to 136 students for a total of $1,116,250.00 as well as administering 14 Leadership Development Conferences.

The former campus was purchased in June 1999 by Northern Oklahoma College (NOC), a public college, for $6.1 million (split $1.9 million paid by the city of Enid, $800,000 by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and $3.4 million by NOC).[19] NOC, based in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, phased the entire property into use as a satellite campus.[19]

Past presidentsEdit

  • Dr. Ely Vaughan Zollars (1907–1915)
  • Dr. Isaac Newton McCash (1916–1938)
  • Dr. Eugene S. Briggs (1938–1961)
  • Dr. Hallie G. Gantz (1961–1972)
  • Dr. Thomas E. Broce (1973–1975)
  • Dr. Samuel E. Curl (1976–1979)
  • Dr. Joe Robert Jones (1979–1988)
  • Dr. Robert D. Peck (1989–1993)
  • Dr. Donald F. Heath (1994–1995)
  • Dr. Sheldon E. Elliott (1995–1996)
  • Dr. G. Curtis Jones (1996–1998)[20]

Notable peopleEdit




  1. ^ Rockwell, Stella, ed., Garfield County, Oklahoma, 1907-1982, Vol. I, Garfield Historical Society, Josten's Publishing Company, Topeka, Kansas. 1982. pg 26-27
  2. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture Archived 2012-11-19 at the Wayback Machine, Oklahoma Historical Society Online Edition, Oklahoma State University Library Electronic Publishing Center
  3. ^ "Mrs. Stettinius Christens Ship", The Oakland Tribune, May 27, 1945, pg A-7
  4. ^ Burke, Bob, and Franks, Kenny, "Oklahoma Christian University", In Reverence We Stand: Memories of Phillips University, Oklahoma Heritage Association, 2003
  5. ^ a b McCash, Isaac Newton, History of Phillips University Archived 2011-05-23 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Our History". Phillips Theological Seminary. Archived from the original on 2018-12-19. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  7. ^ "transcripts". Phillips University Legacy Foundation. Archived from the original on 2016-07-09. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  8. ^ "Maulbetsch Is Married". Syracuse Herald. 1917-06-29.
  9. ^ a b Jim Strain, The Iron Men Of Phillips Used Just 12 Players In Upsetting Mighty Texas Archived 2012-11-02 at the Wayback Machine, Sports Illustrated, October 19, 1981, Accessed June 4, 2010.
  10. ^ "A New Force in Football: Texas University Will Meet Phillips University in Austin". Corsicana Daily. 1919-10-10.
  11. ^ "Longhorns to Play Phillips Uni. October 11th". San Antonio Evening News. 1919-09-13.
  12. ^ "Texas, Unable to Score, Bows to Haymakers, Phillips University Blanks Longhorns on Muddy Field 10 to 0". San Antonio Light. 1919-10-12.
  13. ^ "College Elevens Busy Today". The Galveston Daily News. 1919-11-08.
  14. ^ Enid News & Eagle, July 31, 2001, page 27
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-09. Retrieved 2016-06-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Phillips University Plans New Campus in Japan". 1989-03-05. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  17. ^ "Phillips University Sues Japanese Firm for Course Payments". 1992-08-22. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  18. ^ Desperately seeking students. Chronicle of Higher Education. June 21, 1996
  19. ^ a b c Northern Oklahoma College moves on Enid campus Archived 2011-06-16 at the Wayback Machine, Associated Press, June 18, 1999.
  20. ^ Burke, Bob, and Franks, Kenny, "Presidents and Chancellors of Phillips University," In Reverence We Stand: Memories of Phillips University, Oklahoma Heritage Association, 2003, p. 183
  21. ^ "A Lifetime of Dedicated Service: Sheriff Susan Lewellyn Pamerleau, Major General (Ret.)". University of Wyoming. September 2013. Archived from the original on October 7, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  22. ^ "Google Scholar". Retrieved 29 April 2018.

Further readingEdit

  • Burke, Bob, In Reverence We Stand: Memories of Phillips University, Oklahoma Heritage Association, 2003
  • Marshall, Frank Hamilton, Phillips University's First Fifty Years Volume One: The Early Days of Phillips University, 1957
  • Marshall, Frank Hamilton and Powell, Wilfred E., Phillips University's First Fifty Years Volume Two: the Turbulent Middle Decades, 1960
  • Marshall, Frank Hamilton and Martin, Robert G., Phillips University's First Fifty Years Volume Three: the Period of Greatest Advance, 1967

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 36°23′49″N 97°50′41″W / 36.39694°N 97.84472°W / 36.39694; -97.84472