By Lauren Beeman
“What you are at any given moment is usually the summation of your past experiences,” Phil Conover said.
Conover currently serves as the interim chief operating officer at Quincy University and oversees all of the university’s decisions aside from advancement and fundraising.
A graduate of Arizona State University, some of Conover’s first occupations after school included serving as a high school basketball coach for 15 years, a history teacher, a guidance counselor and even an assistant principal.
Prior to working at QU, Conover was enjoying retirement. Before retiring, Conover worked in economic development, served as an interim dean as well as a vice president at John Wood Community College and worked for 26 years as a financial advisor.
He believes his past experiences and collection of memories drive him to lead the day-to-day operations of the university.
“I am very confident about our ability to not only keep the university going, but also to make it better, make it easier to be a student here and to help develop students to become successful people. We are moving this thing, and we are going to get there,” Conover said.
Some of Conover’s recovery plans include rebranding the university, a task for which he has created a marketing team.
Conover compares these goals to moving trains. For him, the ability to move these trains is the first step in creating a positive action forward.
His other goals include improving Wi-Fi in the residence halls and stepping up the approach to enrollment by involving faculty members, among other things.
Conover believes that success in 90 percent of all occupations can be chalked up to relationship building, and he is eager to build solid relationships with QU students.
“I’m really excited that he is here for us,” sophomore Bridget Hunkins said. “He engages with all of the students and seems to genuinely care about the university. I feel like QU is in good hands, and he will do whatever he can to do the most amount of good.”
Though Conover’s schedule is jam packed with around seven to nine meetings each day, when he has the chance, he enjoys heading to the Main Dining Room and chatting with students.
As his schedule frees, Conover looks forward to having more time to speak with students.
“Whenever I sit down with young people, you know who learns the most? Me. Young people have so much to offer,” he said.
Being surrounded by young people seems to be a consistent factor in Conover’s life; he enjoys spending time with his seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Conover has been married 52 years to his high school sweetheart, Bonnie, who he says has supported him in everything he has done.
When he is not running QU’s operations or spending time with his family, Conover enjoys golfing and playing the piano. Although he is unable to read notes, he is able to play the instrument strictly by ear. He considers the hobby a method of relaxation.
Armed with a diverse occupational background, a collection of memories and a strong passion for Quincy University, Conover will remain in his interim position as long as necessary during the recovery efforts.