- b 1943
John Clifford Phillips was born in Dyfed, Wales, on 29 January 1943. He attended Llandeilo Grammar School before studying Mathematics at Aberystwyth University and graduating with a BSc in 1964.
He started his career as an engineering mathematician, later becoming a specialist in systems development. After graduating he carried out research at the Mathematics Department of the University of Glasgow. During this period he met his wife, Anne Margaret and they were married in 1967. That same year he took up a position as lecturer at Lancashire Polytechnic. After 2 years he moved to Leeds Polytechnic where he remained until 1990. Initially employed as lecturer he had a series of promotions, eventually becoming Head of the School of Mathematics and Computing in 1986 and then Dean for the Faculty of Engineering and Computing in 1987. His final post at the Polytechnic, between 1988 and 1990, was as Senior, Executive, External Development. He was responsible for the Polytechnic’s external income generation work and undertook consultancy work in Brunei, Guyana, Tanzania, Hong Kong and China, mainly in training needs analysis and institutional management. After leaving Leeds Polytechnic he worked as a freelance consultant before taking on the role of Principal of The Queen’s College, Glasgow, in February 1991.
His management experience equipped him to lead the College through a difficult period of uncertainty culminating in merger with Glasgow Polytechnic in 1993 to become Glasgow Caledonian University. John Phillips was appointed Vice-Principal of the new University.