Seven undergraduates from UNC Kenan-Flagler were selected as UNC Phillips Ambassadors for summer and fall 2014 study abroad programs in Asia.
Earl N. "Phil" Phillips Jr. (BSBA ’62), an entrepreneur and former U.S. ambassador, made the Phillips Ambassadors Program possible through a gift to UNC's College of Arts & Sciences and UNC Kenan-Flagler several years ago, sending the first group of students abroad in the summer of 2007. “Our goal with this gift has been to encourage more students to spend their study abroad experiences focused on Asia, an increasingly vital region of the future,” said Phillips.
The following Undergraduate Business Program students were selected as Phillips Ambassadors.
- Gustavo Armada De Dios will study through the CET Kunming Summer program in China.
- Ian Dibble, Michael MacGregor and Kexin Yin will study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
- Benjamin Director will study at the National University of Singapore Business School.
- Gabriel Harris will study at National Taiwan University.
- Matthew Lovejoy will study with the UNC-Peking University Entrepreneurship Summer program.
They are among 20 undergraduates – 19 from UNC and one from Duke – and one UNC PhD candidate headed to Asia. The Phillips Ambassadors is a program of UNC’s Carolina Asia Center, in association with the Study Abroad Office. Phillips Ambassadors are selected twice a year and receive $5,000 each. Selection is based on strong communication skills, intellectual curiosity and engagement, academic achievement, evidence of generous service to the campus and wider community and a previous record of leadership.
Students choose from more than 50 UNC-approved academic programs in Asia that are approved by the College of Arts & Sciences and UNC Kenan-Flagler. They enroll in a global studies course designed uniquely for them. Led by Carolina faculty, the course challenges students to explore their study abroad locale in significant detail and seek understanding of the region in a global context.
A distinguishing feature of the Phillips Ambassadors program is an emphasis on what is called a "Give Back." Students share their study abroad experience with the Carolina community and their hometowns through Give Backs that range from published articles, classroom presentations at a student's hometown high school, photo and art exhibits, musical performances to group projects focused on Asia.
Phillips has more than 35 years of international business experience. He retired in 2000 as chairman and CEO of GE Capital First Factors Corp., a High Point, N.C. asset-based lending company he co-founded in 1972. He also headed Phillips Interests Inc. and Showplace, real estate and home furnishings showroom management companies, both key components of the International Home Furnishings Market headquartered in High Point.
Phillips was International Executive in Residence at UNC Kenan-Flagler in 2003-04, and received a Global Leadership Award from the School in 2001. He served on the UNC Board of Trustees from 1983-91, and chaired the board from 1989-91. He received the William R. Davie Award, the highest honor bestowed by the board, recognizing extraordinary service to the University or society in 1995.
Phillips chaired the N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry in 1999 and 2000. He co-chaired North Carolinians for Educational Opportunity 2000, which spearheaded the successful $3.2 billion bond referendum for capital improvements at UNC campuses and the state's community colleges. He served on the UNC Endowment Board for 16 years and on the UNC Board of Governors, which oversees all 17 system campuses, for four years.
"International travel is one of life's great educational experiences," Phillips said when he launched the Phillips Ambassadors. He credits his parents with giving him that opportunity; they traveled the globe when he was a teenager. "That opened my eyes to the world, and I have been traveling and exploring ever since," he said. "I want Carolina undergraduates to experience that same thing."
By the end of 2014, more than 200 UNC undergraduates will have studied abroad in Asia as Phillips Ambassadors, and one quarter of those students will have been business majors and minors.
Learn more at http://phillips.studyabroad.unc.edu.