Phillips University was a private, church-affiliated school through most of its life. They were a liberal arts college that had a variety of four-year degrees, graduate programs, and a graduate seminary program. Phillips University also gained a reputation in teaching music and was instrumental in starting the Tri-State Music Festival. The Festival started in April of 1933 and is still conducted every year.
Dr. Ely Vaughn Zollars founded the charter college originally named Oklahoma Christian University on October 9, 1906. Backing from T. W. Phillips of Butler, PA, Enid business men and donations from Disciples of Christ Churches of Oklahoma classes began September 17, 1907. It was the first private Christian University in Oklahoma Territory. The University was renamed in Phillip’s honor after his death in 1912.
In the 70s and 80s the school continually lost money. In 1987, Enid citizens barely passed a sales tax to purchase the University in order to keep it open. Separation of church and state prevented Enid from being able to operate a religious based University. Due to this the Seminary was separated and moved to Tulsa. Phillips University was purchased by the Phillips University Board of Regents in 1993. The board decided in 1998 before the Fall semester started to close the University due to financial hardships. The Phillips campus is now the home of Northern Oklahoma College Enid.
Phillips University has two organizations the alumni association and the legacy foundation, which can provide scholarships. These two organizations help keep Phillips University alive through all it’s past students and teachers. The Phillips University Alumni and Friends Association speaks as the voice of alumni and friends: communicates, preserves, and perpetuates the heritage of Phillips University.