North Carolina native and former U.S. Ambassador S. Davis (Dave) Phillips has received the 2010 Choate Alumni Award, the highest honor bestowed upon an alumnus for outstanding leadership and for making significant contributions to their country, community and school.
President John F. Kennedy was the first alumnus to receive the honor in 1958 followed by others such as Adlai Stevenson, Paul Mellon, Glenn Close, Ali MacGraw, Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Douglas.
A businessman, philanthropist, civic leader, and former Secretary of Commerce in North Carolina, Dave Phillips brought tremendous experience to his service as U. S. Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia.
Upon receiving the award, Phillips told the nearly 1,000 students and faculty about his experience as one of the school’s first exchange students to attend Moscow State University and his travels extensively throughout Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Poland during the Cold War. It was this very experience, Phillips said, that prepared him for his role, nearly 45 years later, as ambassador to the former Soviet Republic.
After receiving a diploma from The Choate School in 1961, Phillips attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Phillips founded Phillips Industries Inc. in High Point, N.C. a company that went on to merge three different subsidiaries into three companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Phillips has served on the board of a number of educational, medical and institutional endeavors such as the Duke University Trinity Board, Wake Forest University Medical Center, the Smithsonian Institution and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He served as chairman of the World Games of the Special Olympics and also as chairman of the Wake Forest School of Business.
Phillips and his wife, Kay, have four daughters Lil, Choate Class of 1991; Kate, Choate Class of 1994; Bo and Lucy, Choate Class of 2001.