BY JACLYN ROSE
Dr. Phillip Wilson grew up in neighboring Montgomery County on the family farm in Pencil Bluff. “I am fortunate that at a very early age my parents showed me the importance of continued learning and the value of education at every level. Growing up on a farm is very hard work but it instilled, at an early age, the importance of community, education and faith,” said Dr. Wilson.
After graduating from Oden High School, Wilson went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Hendrix College and he moved to Dallas to work in the technical industry. It was there that he fell in love with computers and networking. After some time he moved back to Arkansas and settled in Mena, where he began his career at Rich Mountain Community College (RMCC) working on computers. Dr. Wilson completed his MBA and his doctorate in higher education from the University of Arkansas and has an associate’s degree in general technologies from RMCC.
After moving to Mena, Dr. Wilson met and married his wife, Kristi Carver Wilson. “My wife is amazing. I would not be where I am today without her. She has literally sacrificed so much time and effort to get us to this place. I often joke that I married up. But really she is Dr. Wilson as much as I am, she worked extremely hard to help get us here,” explained Dr. Wilson. The Wilson’s have four children: Aaron, Marc David, Rachel, and Kate. “I am overly blessed with an amazing family. They really are just amazing,” said Dr. Wilson.
Dr. Wilson taught Systems Technology at RMCC for five years before transitioning into Administration, he then worked in that area for an additional five years before accepting his present position as President of the college. “I work alongside the most effective and caring faculty and staff that any college president could ever want. I’m fortunate to be able to work with them. The college has changed over the past several years as the dynamics of today’s higher education changes. It is a different world today than it was when I began as president almost five years ago. Keeping pace is a challenge but we want to be sure that we are keeping up with the necessary changes that will benefit our community. I am the luckiest guy I know to be in the position I am in. Every day I know we’ve made a difference in someone’s life and you can’t beat that feeling,” explained Dr. Wilson.
In his spare time, Dr. Wilson still enjoys visiting and helping on the family farm. “I love to go back to the farm when I can, though it seems as though our kids dictate our free time with their activities and I can say that I wouldn’t want to spend time anywhere away from them,” Dr. Wilson said.
“To me, it’s the people that make Polk County so great. We are blessed with people that care. Seven years ago my house caught fire and burned and I’ll never forget when I got back from Fort Smith and pulled up to my house there were people everywhere trying to salvage whatever they could. There is not a more caring, conscientious, and family-oriented community anywhere,” said Dr. Wilson.