Philip Bills has established scholarships at the Owens Campus of Delaware Technical Community College, New Mexico State University, and Cornell University. For him, the scholarships are the means to say thank you to his parents for their support and for being exemplary role models in his life.
Only ten years old when his father passed away, Philip says, "I was too young to ask many questions or to understand what a talented person my father was." In later years, he learned that his father entered Cornell University at age 16 with a full scholarship. After graduating with honors in electrical engineering, Thomas Bills worked as a sound recording engineer, first with Fox Movietone News of Paris and then with MGM's "News of the Day" in Washington, D.C. during World War II. He accompanied President Franklin Roosevelt on his official trips, recorded his fireside chats, and became one of FDR's favorite photographers. At the time of his death at the young age of 47, Mr. Bills was leading a group of electronic researchers at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
Ada Bills, who spent her early life as a professional dancer, had no formal higher education. However, knowing well its value, she became the driving force in her son Philip's quest for a college degree.
Through the years, she worked various jobs to keep the family intact and to ensure that there were sufficient financial resources to pay for his college education. Philip earned a degree in industrial engineering from New Mexico State University in 1969. After successfully raising her children and helping them achieve their educational goals, Mrs. Bills passed away in 1979.
After a 22-year career with AT&T, Philip retired in 1998 and moved to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. In 2001 he established endowed scholarships at Delaware Tech, Owens Campus and New Mexico State University in honor of his mother's tremendous efforts in support of his sister, Carol, and him. Philip requested that the scholarship funds be directed to students who are orphaned or who come from single parent families, a situation similar to his.
"I wanted to establish this scholarship at the local community college so that I could meet the student recipients and to participate in college activities," explains Philip. "I see this scholarship as a way to extend my mother's life through the lives of the students at Delaware Tech who are touched by it."
In addition to the Bills Family Scholarship Endowment, Mr. Bills has named Delaware Tech as a beneficiary in his estate plans. Philip frequently supports many other scholarship efforts at the Owens Campus. He feels gratified to be able to offer such assistance. These scholarships are administered through the Financial Aid Office.