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Katherine Yvette Phillips

March 4, 1972 January 15, 2020
Katherine Yvette Phillips
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Obituary for Katherine Yvette Phillips

Katherine Yvette Phillips

Katherine Yvette Phillips, known to many as Professor Phillips, Dr. Phillips, and/or Kathy, was born on March 4, 1972 in Chicago, Illinois to Adolph “Shane” Williams and Amelia Lestine Williams.

Kathy grew up on the south side of Chicago in Morgan Park on Church Street, where she graduated from Morgan Park Academic Center and Morgan Park High School. She was known for her competitive charm, her authentic personality and for building long-lasting friendships. Kathy loved GOD and accepted Christ at an early age. She was active in her churches: Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and Convent Avenue Baptist Church in New York.

Kathy earned her B.S. in Psychology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 1994, where she was named Academic All American - NCAA, Big Ten Conference (Track and Field). She was amazing in the 400-meter dash and long jump.

Kathy earned her Ph.D. in Business, Organizational Behavior from Stanford University, Graduate School of Business in 1999. A trailblazer, she was the first African-American woman to receive such a degree from Stanford. As a doctoral student Kathy met Damon J. Phillips, who she married in August of 1999. He has been her lifelong partner. Their children, Kinara (2002) and Amali (2007) are the central joys of their lives.

From 1999 to 2011, Dr. Phillips was a faculty member at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. In 2006, she was promoted to Associate Professor, the first African-American woman to be tenured there. She became the Founder and Co-Director of Northwestern’s Center on the Science of Diversity.

In 2011, Dr. Phillips joined the faculty at Columbia Business School where she also made history as the first African-American woman to be tenured. She was the first to serve as Senior Vice Dean from 2014 to 2017. Dr Phillips taught thousands of MBA students and supervised more than two dozen doctoral students and post-docs who are teaching and leading in prestigious organizations and universities around the world. She was best known for her research on the value of diversity. Her review of diversity research published in Research in Organizational Behavior remains a leading source for scholars across many disciplines. Her seminal 2014 Scientific American article, How Diversity Makes Us Smarter, has influenced researchers and practitioners worldwide.

Dr. Katherine Y. Phillips, the Reuben Mark Professor of Organizational Character at Columbia Business School, died on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, in New York City. She was 47. She will be remembered as a loving spouse, a devoted mother, a trailblazer, a researcher, a mentor, and an amazing friend.

Kathy is survived by: her husband of 20 years, Damon J. Phillips; two daughters, Kinara, and Amali Phillips; parents, Adolph, and Amelia Williams; Jerry, and Maxine Phillips; five siblings, Adolph (Patrice) Williams, Natalie (Bernard) Morrow, Eric (Adrian) Williams, Ethel Rogers, and Angelia Williams; brother–in–law, Dyelan (Nitika) Phillips; and a host of extended family, colleagues and friends.

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Cemetery Details


Lincoln Cemetery Final Resting Place

12300 South Kedzie
Chicago, IL 60655

12300 South Kedzie Chicago 60655 IL
United States

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