John Phillips, distinguished FISC grad, returns to campus

John Phillips (UW-FISC ’37) is a living example of the power of education, and he recently returned to UW-Madison and the home of the Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC) to visit with the current class of students about his life’s adventure. The story begins when Phillips hitchhikes from Rice Lake to Madison to attend short course.

Today, Phillips has retired from business but leaves behind a legacy that includes founding the “Miss Wisconsin Cheese Company,” which he used to leverage a stellar career. From the Miss Wisconsin Cheese Company, Phillips moved to American Home Products, helped found the R.J. Reynolds Food Company and later joined CBS as the president of the Columbia Group among other accomplishments.

“I am now 88 years old.  I live in a home my wife and I built in the early 1960s, surrounded by beautiful views of Long Island Sound in Riverside, Connecticut.  I still do my own gardening with over 30,000 daffodils – I planted each one over the years and fertilize each one in the spring along with my sweet corn, tomatoes and roses.  I am still a farmer at heart,” John says.

A (31 minutes) video of Phillips’ presentation to the opening session of the 2008-09 short course may be viewed here: