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  • Phil Schubert, Jr. ’91

Phil Schubert, Jr. ’91

Economics & Political Science; Pi Omega Delta; Tennis

What excited you about attending Ursinus?

I think the most relevant thing about Ursinus was the small, close-knit community. I attended a relatively small high school and, as the first person in my family to attend college, I didn’t know a lot about colleges or universities. The small school environment, with more access to teachers, was more attractive than attending a large university.

What are some of your fondest Ursinus memories?

I probably can’t share most of my favorite memories from Ursinus! For me, it was the long-term, deep relationships. The closest relationships I have developed stemmed from college and, specifically, my fraternity, Pi Omega Delta. I appreciated that Ursinus introduced me to friends from different geographies, as well as different types of people.

What organizations, teams or clubs were you involved in as a student and how did your involvement in those impact your Ursinus experience?

Pi Omega Delta, my fraternity, was “the big one,” and took up most of my focus and time. I also played tennis my freshman year and joined the economics club. I honed leadership skills through these organizations, and they were instrumental in building a resume for after college. It was an opportunity for me to become well rounded. At Ursinus, I wasn’t pigeon-holed into one thing.

Who was your favorite professor? Favorite class? Why?

My favorite professor was Dr. Heather O’Neill. She connected to students on a personal level. Her teaching style was “more accessible” to students than book-based or fact-oriented methods of teaching, and provided a nice base for economics and finance for him.

My favorite class, on the other hand, was an ethics class with Dr. Paul Stern. The class was engaging and really dove into sensitive, real-life issues.” It was thought-provoking, and encouraged a lot of engagement in classroom discussion of, at times, deep, divisive issues.

How did your experience at Ursinus help you in your professional career?

The liberal arts education I received at Ursinus provided for a much more well-rounded point of view. While I may not have had a deep focus on within a particular major, like some of my workforce contemporaries who attended more concentrated programs at bigger schools, they didn’t have a leg up on me. A lot of what you learn for work is on the job. School taught you how to think, not what to think. While some of my colleagues had more education on certain topics, it was really Ursinus’s emphasis on how to think that made the difference for me.

My first boss, the CEO of the company I worked for, made an important point in the introduction to my trading class. He made it a point of telling the class that his major in college was philosophy. The liberal arts, in this way, is important for developing you as a person and providing you the flexibility to grow and evolve in your career.

What would you like to share with students today?

I would try to get the most out of the school. I’d be involved in more things. I would try to make more connections. The network is one of the most important things to come out of college with. Don’t just look at college as a four-year commitment, or a diploma…it’s everything. If your sole goal is to get straight A’s and get out, you’re missing what is important to your personal and professional development.

How does Ursinus rank amongst your other philanthropic priorities?
Ursinus is the first priority, to be honest. Consistently, it’s the first.

Why do you continue to support Ursinus?

I used to support the school where I received my graduate degree. However, I eventually stopped. To me, big universities with large endowments were more like “money-making machines.” I felt that my philanthropy there didn’t have the same impact. When I give to Ursinus, I know it’s going to something very tangible. My donation - or commitment - actually means something, as opposed to some larger places. I give my charity to places I have a connection to. And where the gift has meaning.

What motivates you to stay connected with Ursinus?

I would like to be able to attend more Homecomings, but over the years, I have engaged in opportunities like our Extern Program. In the future, I’d like to have more opportunities to connect with current students. I’d like to see the school succeed and continue to improve. I want to see the school develop and remain competitive. Staying engaged with Ursinus also helps me stay connected to my fraternity and professors. (Some professors that I had as a student are still teaching at Ursinus, which I think is wonderful.)

What is your message to fellow Greek alumni who had a great experience at Ursinus, but now, are somewhat detached or removed from the school?

I credit John Strassburger with re-engaging me. I also know that some people from various generations may have a distaste. Greek life is still alive and well. There are challenges at every school, not just Ursinus. The college has made an effort to maintain Greek life as a social fabric of the school. The school has done a better job than in the past. They develop and adapt.