Philip L. Collyer, 1968
B.S., Denison University
M.S., Syracuse University
Ph.D. coursework, Colorado School of Mines, 1973-75
Greater DC Cares
District of Columbia
Citation awarded June, 2004
After his graduation, Phil spent nine months in the U.S. Army before being honorably discharged. Following graduate school, he went to work as a field exploration geologist, first for two years with Union Carbide/Canada, then for five years with Urangesellschaft USA, and finally with Anaconda Copper Co., as a project superintendent responsible for the engineering, environmental regulation, and development of the largest uranium deposit in the U.S.
Phil and his wife, Rosemary, moved to Washington, D.C., where in 1981, she accepted a presidential appointment to chair the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. Phil spent 10 years as a consultant to the environmental, nuclear waste, and aerospace industries. In the late 1980s, he co-founded a technology company, using proprietary software to produce electronic text and engineering data for customers in North American and Europe. By 1991, Apex Data Services was running successfully and Phil was ready for a new challenge that would provide a different kind of fulfillment.
He discovered Greater D.C. Cares through a cover article in the Washingtonian Magazine. He signed up to help and soon became a full-time volunteer in their offices, then a member of their board, then, in 1993, their president and chief executive officer. In 1998, while still acting in the capacity of an uncompensated volunteer, Phil was named the Leadership Washington Volunteer of the Year and later honored as WETA’s Hometown Hero. In the late 1990s, he started a new enterprise, Cares@Law, which recruited experienced attorneys for temporary assignment and drove revenue to Greater D.C. Cares. Today, he is the honorary president of Great D.C. Cares and is still active on their board. He also serves on the board of an international nonprofit which brings economic sustainability to NGOs in emerging democracies around the world.
Phil was appointed by two governors of the state of Maryland to serve on the Commission for National and Community Service and also by Washington, D.C.’s Mayor Anthony Williams as a commissioner for the District of Columbia.
Phil returned to Denison in the fall of 2003 for a three-day entrepreneur-in-residence program, meeting with students to expand their awareness of successful nonprofit enterprises and their contributions to the economy and society. He has been recognized on the cover of the Denison magazine and has spoken on several occasions to the Denison Community Association. Phil and his wife Rosemary, who currently sits on the bench of the U.S. district court for the District of Columbia as a federal judge, have one son who will turn 30 this year.