Music Resource Center Named for Phillip Thomas

Alumni, Music, News

By Merritt Jenkins

Lee University’s music resource center has been renamed the Phillip Thomas Music Resource Center for the School of Music’s associate dean, Dr. Phillip Thomas. This honor was announced by Lee Chancellor Dr. Paul Conn during a faculty meeting held earlier this month.

“President Walker has given me the privilege of announcing to his faculty colleagues that at the president’s recommendation, and with the unanimous vote of the Board of Directors, Dr. Thomas will be honored by the naming of the Phillip Thomas Music Resource Center, which is a prominent part of the Curtsinger Music Building,” said Conn.

Dr. Phillip Thomas

A distinguished professor of music, music historian, and pianist, Thomas began his teaching career at Lee University as a piano instructor in 1977. Since then, he has filled a number of roles including classroom and studio teacher, accompanist, ensemble director, and administrator. He is also an advocate of music history and archival resources.

“In 45 years of continuous full-time service on the Lee faculty, Phil Thomas has created a reputation for excellence in many areas,” said Conn. “Since joining the School of Music, he has touched every rung on the academic ladder, including being one of only 11 teachers to ever be named a Distinguished Professor. As an administrator, he has been chairman of two different departments and the school’s first associate dean. As a classroom teacher, he is known for an approach that is consistently demanding and prepares students thoroughly for the rigors of graduate school. As a scholar, he has truly been a ‘life-long learner’ who has never become complacent about his grasp of his discipline.”

According to Conn, outside the School of Music, it is as a performer that most of the Lee community knows Thomas’ work. “He is a pianist of wide-ranging ability, and his command of the keyboard is seen in the traditional classical repertoire as well as in improvisational sacred music that is invariably spiritually inspiring and musically intelligent.”

Currently, Thomas’ teaching responsibilities include graduate and undergraduate courses in music history and literature, as well as some studio teaching. He is also the founding executive director of Lee’s annual Piano Festival and the strings program.

“I am honored and humbled by this gesture,” said Thomas. “As has been the case for these 45 years, I hope that, in some small way, my work inspires students to explore the fascinating world of musical scholarship.”

The music resource center was designed and built in 1995 as part of Curtsinger Building, where it occupies a prominent location in the main School of Music lobby. It represents a required element of accreditation by National Schools of Music (NASM) and offers students music scores, reference volumes, CDs and music videos, as well as a computerized music media lab for composition and arranging.

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