HSU Alumnus Appointed by Governor Abbott to Chair Committee

November 19, 2021 Sarah Harbison

While a student at Hardin-Simmons University, Phil Wilson ’90 was deeply invested in campus life. From Greek life to academic excellence, he was an active member and officer of numerous student organizations. His list of honors while a student is long, including President of his freshman class, a founding member of Theta Alpha Zeta, Vice President of the Student Congress, President of the Student Activities Council, and more. In addition, he performed in several theatre productions and was named Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. 

Phil Wilson ’90

Since graduating from HSU in 1990, Phil has had an illustrious career, serving in various capacities in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, Governor Abbott appointed Phil to chair the State Energy Plan Advisory Committee, where he will focus on improving the Texas energy market.  

Phil’s accolades in his career mirror those of his time as a student, with an emphasis on being intentional in action. His experiences reiterate the importance of building authentic and intentional relationships, something he wants current HSU students to see the value of. When asked what advice he would give to HSU students, Phil encouraged current students to live in the moment and invest in friendships. He went on to emphasize the importance of conversation and learning about others.  

Phil pointed out, “there is a lost art of asking questions and listening” because we are often too distracted to connect with others. He encourages students to be present in the moment and appreciate the now. When we fill our lives with hurry and haste, we don’t recognize the beauty of the moment and often miss the possibilities of friendship and other potentials. Phil challenged students to reflect with, “How [are your actions] meaningful? How [will your actions] make you wiser, a better friend, or be more connected?” 

Phil credits much of his success in time management, prioritization, the necessity of follow-through, and understanding of leadership to his awareness of intentionality and Hardin-Simmons’ multidisciplinary education. Phil highlighted the importance of a liberal arts education at Hardin-Simmons by saying, “Academics were critical, and yet academics were just one component of the experience.”

Phil Wilson 1990 Bronco

The interconnectedness of truly knowing others, actively asking questions, and actively listening are at the foundation of who Phil is today.  Phil went on to share mentors from HSU who “genuinely listened and cared” for him, including Dr. Ken Jacobs, from the History Department, who gave Phil editing experience, Dr. Charles Garraway, from the Political Science Department, who taught in an engaging way, and former deans Linda Carleton and Dr. Paula Windham who cared about students individually.  

Phil reminisced on his time returning to campus after a 15-year window by saying, “Those individuals who were still there remembered who I was.” There is no substitute for “knowing who people are,” he shared and that is what makes Hardin-Simmons so special. During this holiday season, take time to practice the “lost art of asking questions and listening.”  

Congratulations on the honor, Phil! We can agree that forming friendships is at the core of our alumni and student networks.