Fred Phillips Endowed Scholarship in Aviation takes flight at Tech

Feb 20, 2024 | Alumni, General News, Giving, Liberal Arts

Fred L. Phillips, well-known in Shreveport-Bossier City for his loyal business practices, service to his community, philanthropy, and kind heart, passed away in 2021 at age 73.

Fred was a pillar within the oil and gas industry and was proud to be President and CEO of Phillips Energy, Inc. He had a passion for both aviation and paying it forward. His Family is devoted to keeping his spirit of generosity alive and impacting the future of the flying industry.

To honor their patriarch’s legacy, the Phillips Family has established the Fred L. Phillips Aviation Memorial Endowed Scholarship through the Louisiana Tech University Foundation.

The scholarship will be given to its first recipient at the Aviation Festival (AVFEST) Awards Banquet on April 27 on Tech’s Ruston campus. The annual festival hosted by the University’s Department of Professional Aviation is for students, family, faculty, and alumni to gather to celebrate the program, hear about the state of the airline industry, and build relationships with those studying and working in the field.

Neither Phillips nor his family are graduates of Tech. However, the family wanted to honor their father’s memory by establishing an endowment at a university that shared his passion for the sky and could pass that passion to others. Now his ties and his family’s ties to the University will forever be strong.

“The Phillips Family believes in our students and aspires to support them in achieving their dreams of becoming pilots,” said Director of Development Rosilynn Gillum, who has worked alongside the family to establish this scholarship and accomplish their philanthropic goals related to Louisiana Tech. “This endowment symbolizes a perpetual gift that will continue to offer opportunity, fostering the legacy of their dad’s passion and inspiring future generations to soar to new heights.”

“My dad was such a beautiful and genuine spirit,” Dr. Sue Phillips Grisham said. “He was so easy to love. He lifted everyone up and celebrated others’ accomplishments no matter how big or small.  His resilience, passion for any journey he put his mind to, his dedication and tenacity, and his avid enthusiasm for aviation will forever resonate. He was a mentor to many young pilots, was an inspiration to all of those he met, and we hope to continue his legacy helping instill these values in young pilots early in their careers.”

Described by many as a friend who had a smile and contagious warmth that lit up a room, Phillips was a passionate man, brother, father, and grandfather and always available to lend a helping hand to anyone in need, often anonymously.

“He lived an incredible life,” Grisham said, “filled with adventure, excitement, compassion, and generosity.

He was known for his originality, and he excelled living near the edge. He was an accomplished race-car driver and competed both internationally and in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Some of his other hobbies and passions included motorcycling, bicycling, and collecting watches and cars.

Phillips loved being in the sky so much that he made more than 3,500 jumps skydiving, but aviation was his true passion. He flew solo at 19 and earned his multiengine and private pilot certifications and ultimately commercial pilot rating in the span of only 12 months.

In 2017, from the Federal Aviation Administration, he received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for more than 50 years of safe flying. Phillips logged over 18,000 hours in the air and owned several different airplanes along the way. His most recent aircrafts represented who he was as a person, from a Bombardier Lear Jet 60, Eclipse 550, and Robinson 44 Helicopter to a Panzl S330 aerobatic airplane, along with several experimental aircraft.  The sky was sacred ground to Phillips, and the endowment in his name will pass that passion along, his family said.

For more information on endowments and other ways to support Louisiana Tech, please contact University Advancement at 318.255.7950 or e-mail