Commencement is almost here!

This morning I saw the maintenance crew beginning to construct the platform for graduation. I’m excited about graduation next week, but I know I’m most certainly going to miss Bates. For now, let me enjoy the last few days of my short term class  on the HBO hit show “The Wire.”

Commencement at Bates is almost here

Published in: on May 20, 2010 at 2:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Deciding on Bates..Congrats 2014!

Freshman year at Bates

Congratulations on your acceptance to Bates College!

I know many of you are still undecided on whether Bates is the right place for you. Many of you have visited the campus, reviewed the website, perused brochures, spoken with current Bates students, and chatted with Bates alums; yet still cannot discern if Bates is the best college for you. I want you to know that I understand. Well here’s my small advice to you on how to make your decision:  I suggest that you ask yourself the following questions:

(1) What are my academic goals?

(2) How do I wish to grow personally?

(3)  Do I believe Bates can help me develop my personal and intellectual interests?

 I chose Bates because I desired to attend an institution with a good academic reputation, a strong community of students interested in social change, and a place where students have excellent relations and interaction with administrators, faculty and staff. If an institution did not have these qualities, I immediately took it off my list. Today, I’m happy I remained committed to choosing an institution that possessed these characteristics because I have benefited from being challenged intellectually, learning from other socially conscious students, and having the support of the entire Bates community in times of need.      

Think of things important to you and attempt to make a sound decision on whether Bates has attributes that are most significant to you. Make a mature decision that does not include observing college rankings. Take time to investigate whether you can not only see yourself being apart of a particular college community, but try to imagine whether you can see yourself becoming an integral part of that college community. I can only hope Bates is that place.

Yours in the struggle, I am

Brother Phillips

Published in: on April 11, 2010 at 11:16 pm  Leave a Comment  


People, I completed my thesis last Monday! It was the most arduous task that I have ever undergone. I gave up many weekend festivities, woke up early, and stayed up long evenings to complete the project. It was an intellectually stimulating and quite rewarding process. When I turned in my thesis, there were several staff, faculty, and administrators present to congratulate me on my accomplishment. They then fed me! YESS! That was very nice of them.

In the history lounge with my thesis adviser Professor Hilmar Jensen and his other thesis advisee putting the final touches on the thesis at 2:00am on a Saturday morning...photographer Phyllis Graber Jensen of Bates College

There are a number of people that I could thank for helping me complete this project, but I’m most especially grateful to my thesis adviser Dr. Hilmar Jensen, Czerny Brasuell of Multicultural Affairs, and my sister for assisting me throughout the entire thesis process. I dedicated my thesis to the three women who have most impacted my life: my mother, my sister, and my deceased grandmother!

Yours in the struggle, I am

 Brother Phillips


Published in: on April 5, 2010 at 3:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Yale for Graduate School!

Last night, I learned that I had been admitted to the Master of Arts in Religion degree program at Yale Divinity School (YDS). Specifically, I was accepted into YDS’s M.A.R. degree concentration in Black Religion in the African Diaspora. I’m extremely surprised, humbled and thankful for the decision made by Yale Divinity School’s Admissions Committee. Immediately after I received this good news, I thanked God and then contacted some of my friends, family, and mentors about my acceptance. However, I could not celebrate long. I still have a significant amount of work ahead of me. Shortly after making a few phone calls and sending out several text messages, I rushed back to my thesis project. I really want to produce a solid thesis. I’m just so passionate about this.

Yet, I sincerely want to thank everyone at Bates that has and continues to be so wonderful to me for their love and kindness throughout my time here.  I love Bates and my acceptance into YDS would not have been possible without the folks here. I’m currently in operation graduation mode! I want to finish strong. Please wish me good luck!

Talk to you later! Thanks everyone!

Yours in the struggle, I am

Brother Phillips

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

California Love!! UCLA

Copyright UCLA

I have been offered admission to the University of California, Los Angeles M.A. program in Afro-American Studies. I’m thrilled about the opportunity to study at such a phenomenal research university for graduate school. I want to thank two of my mentors at Bates, Dr. Charles Nero a professor in the programs in African American Studies and American Cultural Studies and Rhetoric Department and Czerny Brasuell, the Director of  Multicultural Affairs, for supporting me throughout the graduate school process.  Bates has prepared me well for graduate school, yet I’m still nervous about the new environment. But I must admit, I’ve been playing the song “California Love” over and over again since I received word on my acceptance yesterday morning. Yet, I have not confirmed my attendance because I still have to some issues to work out before I make a final decision. However, I’m very happy about having this institution as an option. I’ll keep you posted.

African American Studies has been my life for the past four years and I want to continue to have an enriching experience in the field!  God is good!

BACK TO MY AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES THESIS! I can’t celebrate too long at all!

Yours in the Struggle, I am

Brother Phillips

Published in: on February 28, 2010 at 3:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Thesis Abstract

Hello everyone, I know I have not communicated with you for some time now. However, I want to let you know that it’s been for a good reason. I have been occupied with my senior thesis which is a required project that all Bates students have to do before they graduate. Students meet with their advisers once a week to discuss the project and we are responsible for getting done an extensive report on a topic of our choice. It’s an arduous task, but its rewarding because it helps student prepare for graduate school type research. I’m currently writing a combined thesis in African American Studies and Philosophy. But, I’m going to do a better job updating you folks in internet land with whats going on in my life haha.

Here is my thesis abstract in African American Studies and Philosophy:

Adviser: Hilmar Jensen

Photo courtesy of Richard Avedon

The Conflict Within: SNCC, Black Integrationists, and Black Nationalists: Integrationist and Black nationalist philosophies are, arguably, divergent and irreconcilable strategies adopted, at different times, in the long-range struggle for Black liberation in the U.S. My thesis focuses on the relationship between these ideologies as methods of protest, and how these methods have shaped protest tactics and ideologies taken for granted by African Americans today. It attempts to answer three related questions: During the key period 1960-1968, how might we assess the array of political perspectives within the Black community? How did the balance between Blacks supporting integrationist or Black nationalist philosophies shift? What did this mean? Throughout this period, individual activists and organizations debated the efficacy of both integrationist and Black nationalist ideologies. Some radically altered their ideological and practical commitments to embody one or the other of these two strands of thought. My project specifically examines the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Black Freedom Movement’s vanguard in these years, exploring how and why its members’ philosophies shifted from integrationist toward nationalistic perspectives as a means for social change. It seeks to illuminate why Blacks chose certain philosophies and how the presence of multiple forms of social thought has affected possibilities for a unified Black liberation struggle today.

Yours in the Struggle, I am

Brother Phillips

Published in: on February 21, 2010 at 1:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Integrity—Part of the Bates Way

Photo courtesy of the Bates College Office Services website

A few weeks ago, I was rushing to send off an important package. I pulled out my wallet to pay for the package, yet Bates’ mail center only takes cash or check. I placed my debit card on the counter, thinking that I would pick it up later and pulled out my checkbook.  I then left the mail center, happy that I finally delivered the package. A few hours later, I decided to go to Milts (campus variety store) to pick up some snacks for evening studying.  I reached for wallet to pull out my debit card and it wasn’t there. I said to my self “ughh I must have left it in the mailroom.” The mailroom was closed now.  I now had to wait until the next morning to see if it was still there.

The next morning, I returned to the mail room and one of Bates staff members was there. She said, “you left something here yesterday didn’t you.” I said “wow, thank you Jesus.” She had stored my debit card in a safe location and returned it to me. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t go missing or was stolen. I shouldn’t had been because integrity among folks at Bates is what makes our college special.

That’s Bates for ya. People here for the most part are honest and caring. That’s the Bates way!

 Yours in the struggle, I am

Brother Phillips

Published in: on February 1, 2010 at 4:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Health Care Forum at Bates

Bates College student organizations Amandla!, New World Coalition and the Haward Center for Community Partnerships recently sponsored a Health Care Forum held in Chase Hall Lounge. The forum was moderated by Marshall E. Hatch ’10

The Health Care forum fielded questions from local experts in public health.  Physician Dr. Alice Haines, Maine insurance industry lobbyist Dan Bernier, and Ali Zander, a Bates alumna and representative for the Maine People’s Alliance were members of the panel.

The forum addressed questions concerning the recent congressional health care reform bill and also clarified any confusion over the bill. It was an excellent discussion!

Here are photos from the event:

Yours in the struggle, I am

Brother Phillips

Published in: on December 1, 2009 at 4:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Bates Multifaith Dinner

I attended Bates annual Multi-Faith dinner sponsored by the Office of the Chaplain. The Multifaith dinner celebrates diversity in faith at Bates. Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Catholic, Christian Science, Jewish, Muslim and other faiths shared their stories about how faith has impacted their lives. The food was delicious and I was treated to a Indian dance performance. I ate well, enjoyed the entertainment and learned a lot.

Here are a few photos from the event.

Yours in the struggle, I am

Brother Phillips

Published in: on December 1, 2009 at 4:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Professor Michael Murray


Bates Faculty

 My fall break was excellent. I was able to relax, reunite with some of my friends and catch up on some work. When it was time for me to return to Bates, I began to search for individuals who could provide me with a ride back to campus. I immediately contacted some students at Bates and many of them were not available to pick me up. I became somewhat worried and I eventually resolved that I would have to pay for a shuttle to drive me from the airport to Bates.

 But an interesting thing happened. I noticed a man on the plane with me who I believed was a professor at Bates. I had never met this man before, but I certainly recognized him. I said to myself, “hey I know this may be odd, but maybe I should ask him if he teaches at Bates and whether or not he could give me a ride to campus.”  So, I approached him and asked him if he taught at Bates. He said yes and I of course identified myself. His name was Michael Murray and he taught in the Economics Department. Once I learned that he was a professor of economics I finally realized where I met him. I recalled spending long nights in Pettengill Hall (where the Economics Department is housed) and seeing him there sometimes in the evenings while studying. I then asked him if he could give me a ride and he surprisingly said YES. Thank God.

 On our way back to campus we had a great conversation on politics, Bates, his decision to become an economics professor and community work. Professor Murray has been teaching at Bates for 24 years. Before teaching at Bates he taught at large universities. He noted he was compelled to teach at Bates because he loves interacting with students in smaller learning communities. He values getting to know students personally. This is something he found much more difficult to do at a larger university.  I also learned that his son founded a community organization in Philadelphia that I’m familiar with called the Empowerment Group.

Professor Murray represents the character of Bates very well. Faculty, staff and administrators at Bates are always willing to assist students in times of need. This small act of kindness certainly provides a good representation of the quality of professors we have at Bates.

 Thank you Professor Murray!

Yours in the struggle, I am

Brother Phillips

Published in: on October 27, 2009 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment