The Department of Economics announces with sadness the passing of W. Phillip Saunders, professor emeritus and former chair of the department.
Phil was a colleague who continually put social responsibility ahead of self-interest. In addition to being instrumental in a large number of professional organizations, he served as department chair from 1988-92 and as associate dean in the College from 1974-1978.
Phil always had a kind word and was more than generous with his time. His contribution to the department went well beyond Ballantine and Wylie Halls. He was a wonderful role model to both junior faculty and graduate students, from his approach to teaching introductory economics to his participation on the departmental softball team up until he retired. His personal generosity funded an award to honor the department’s best student instructors. Very simply, he cared deeply about his colleagues and students.
Phil’s sense of giving back to the community continued after his retirement. With his wife, Nancy, he played a major fund raising role in the Shalom Community Center, a Bloomington organization that provides services for the homeless. After Nancy passed away, Phil and his family created the “Nancy Saunders Almost Awesome Tennis Tournament,” which raised thousands of dollars in support of the Shalom Center.
Phil will be missed by his students and colleagues. His passing leaves a big hole in the department and in the Bloomington community.
-- Robert Becker, James Walker, Willard Witte