Phillips Medal

Executive Dean's Office

Leaders in health care, education and public service

The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine determined in 1976 that a continuing recognition of the men and women involved in health care, education and public service was merited and long overdue. Therefore, the Phillips Medal was established to be awarded annually in one or more of the following categories:

  • For osteopathic medical practice exemplifying the best tradition of family medicine;
  • For osteopathic hospital administration exemplifying the best tradition of humane, concerned administration and public involvment; and
  • For public policy leadership exemplifying the best tradition of democratic concern for the public good and public welfare. 

The Phillips Medal of Public Service is named for the late J. Wallace Phillips and Jody Galbreath Phillips, longtime friends of Ohio University.

The Phillips Medal of Public Service Nomination Committee welcomes your suggestions for future Phillips Medal of Public Service recipients. 

Nominate Individual


About the Phillips Medal 

Jody Galbreath Phillips (left) and J.Wallace Phillips (right) The Phillips Medal of Public Service is named for the late J. Wallace Phillips and Jody Galbreath Phillips, longtime friends of Ohio University.

Mr. Phillips was the attorney for John W. Galbreath and Co., Columbus, Ohio. The company engages in various aspects of real estate, including office building management and leasing, construction and development of office complexes, industrial town sites and housing throughout the United States and selected foreign countries. During his distinguished career, he also served as president of the Board of Trustees of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, member of the Board of Trustees at Franklin University and trustee of Vanderbilt University. In addition, he was a past president of the Columbus Rotary Club and a 33rd degree Mason. He was also a member of The Jockey Club and the Columbus and Ohio bar associations.

Mrs. Phillips is a graduate of Ohio University, a former member and chairman of the Ohio University Board of Trustees, a former member of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Advisory Board and past president or board member of such groups as Twig 99 of Children’s Hospital, First Community Church, Junior League, Buckeye Boys Ranch, Childhood League, Columbus Association of the Performing Arts, the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts and the Board of Trustees of Doctors Hospital North.

Phillips Medal Recipients

Most Recent Recipient (2017)

Roderick McDavis Roderick J. McDavis, Ph.D.

Roderick J. McDavis, Ph.D., president emeritus of Ohio University, left his mark on both the institution and on higher education in the state through a record of remarkable growth and progress. A 1970 OHIO graduate and only the second alumnus to serve as the university’s top executive, Dr. McDavis became its first African American leader when he was hired as the university’s 20th president in 2004.

During his 13 years as president, he presided over record enrollment growth, as the university passed the 40,000-student mark while increasing both student diversity and student scholarship support. Also during this time, OHIO built five new residence halls and more than a dozen new buildings statewide, while taking action to address the long-standing issue of deferred maintenance in the university’s existing facilities. Dr. McDavis also played a major role in helping to push the university’s Promise Lives Campaign – the biggest fundraising campaign in its history – $50 million beyond its stated $450 million goal.

He spearheaded the writing of a new university Comprehensive Master Plan to provide a  blueprint for development in the coming decade, as well as a sustainability plan to increase OHIO’s use of renewable energy sources. He also helped develop and implement the state’s first university technology transfer and commercialization plan and its first guaranteed tuition plan.

Dr. McDavis served on the Heritage College’s advisory board and contributed to raising its national prominence as both a research institution and one of the country’s top producers of primary care physicians. During his tenure, the Heritage College experienced transformational growth, with the record $105-million Vision 2020 Award from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation in 2011 – aimed at strengthening the medical school’s ability to meet the most pressing health care needs of Ohioans – and the opening of a second campus in Dublin in 2014, and a third in Cleveland in 2015.

After graduating from OHIO with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences in secondary education, Dr. McDavis earned a master’s degree in student personnel administration from the University of Dayton, followed by a Ph.D. in counselor education and higher education administration from the University of Toledo. Prior to his appointment at OHIO, he held academic and administrative positions at the University of Florida, the University of Arkansas and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dr. McDavis has received numerous honors and awards, including the Ohio Osteopathic Association’s Meritorious Service Award in 2017 and the University of Arkansas’ Silas Hunt Legacy Award in 2012, which recognizes African Americans for significant achievements or contributions to the community, the state and the nation. In 2007, he was one of only six president and CEO-level leaders in the state to receive a Leadership Ohio Award of Excellence, and in 2010 he was inducted into the Association of Ohio Commodores.

Dr. McDavis stepped down as Ohio University president in February 2017. He now serves as the managing principal and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based AGB Search, a higher-education executive search firm.

Past Recipients