Gordon in the News: last updated 05/22/2009

Celebrating the Life, Leadership and Legacy of Tom Phillips, Gordon Trustee and CEO of Raytheon

May 22, 2009

Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA—Few might know that Thomas L. Phillips was born in Istanbul, or that he graduated from Boston Public Latin School before earning two degrees in electrical engineering. But ask about his leadership in corporate management and higher education and the detailed accolades flow.

Because of his many contributions to business and technology as CEO of Raytheon Company and Board of Director member of Digital Equipment Corporation as well as his extraordinary services as a board member for numerous colleges and non-profits, Gordon College will honor Tom Phillips in a special gathering for the community. The celebration will also acknowledge the important donation of his Raytheon Archives to Gordon College, affirming Gordon’s commitment to science and technology scholarship.

Life, Leadership, and Legacy: A Tribute to Tom Phillips will take place on Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. in the MacDonald Auditorium of the Ken Olsen Science Center at Gordon College. In addition to Gordon College President R. Judson Carlberg and his wife, Jan, other guest speakers will include Charles W. Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, Joanna S. Mockler, World Vision International Board Member and William H. Swanson, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Raytheon Company. A special film tribute will also be shown during the event with a reception following.

For over 40 years, Phillips served on Gordon’s board of trustees while also serving in leadership roles at the Raytheon Company. He joined Raytheon in 1948 as an engineer and retired in 1991 as Chairman and CEO. He and his wife, Gert, have consistently supported and encouraged Gordon students, faculty and staff.

“Tom has been a supportive friend and a truly great board member with a heart for Christian education,” said President Carlberg. “He understands that the young leaders forged here at Gordon are exactly the ones needed in business, education, the sciences and arts, and the Church.”

Phillips’ leadership, however, extends beyond the business and academic world. Through avenues like First Tuesday—a monthly breakfast he sponsors for corporate, church, and civic CEOs—he has also had considerable Christian influence on the leaders of the region. Over many years, he has quietly invested time and care into many men and women, providing them unique opportunities to develop their personal and professional leadership skills in the context of their Christian faith.

“It’s wonderful to be able to honor a beloved individual of such high caliber who has had such a positive impact on so many lives,” said Chairman Swanson. “In the process, it is wonderful to be able to affirm our support for education in the community.”

In addition to his leadership contributions, Phillips and Raytheon have donated his archives to Gordon College. Some of the items within the collection are photographs (including pictures with five U.S. presidents), videos, speeches, letters, articles, copies of his eleven honorary degrees, an original Amana microwave, a model of the Hawk missile and relevant publications from his career at Raytheon.

The Phillips/Raytheon archives are the second technology-related archives housed at Gordon College since Ken Olsen donated the archives from the Digital Equipment Corporation last fall.

A Tribute to Tom Phillips is free and open to the public but registration is encouraged. To register, visit www.gordon.edu/tomphillips or email Anna Martin at  or 978.867.4766. 


Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston's North Shore. The College offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.