Commencement Speaker

Photo of Phillip C. Stone

Dr. Phillip C. Stone, president emeritus of Bridgewater College, will provide the college’s 2015 commencement address on Saturday, May 16, at 10 a.m.

The topic of his address is “Missing Pieces.”

About Dr. Phillip C. Stone

A native of Virginia and a 1965 graduate of Bridgewater College, Phillip C. Stone attended the University of Chicago Graduate School of Economics and received a law degree from the University of Virginia. Stone was a practicing attorney for 24 years with the Harrisonburg, Va., firm of Wharton, Aldhizer and Weaver, and during his law practice was listed in the first four editions of The Best Lawyers in America.

After 24 years as an attorney, Stone became president of Bridgewater College in 1994. During his tenure, enrollment nearly doubled and the campus underwent major construction and improvement projects. He also proposed the Personal Development Portfolio program and oversaw the establishment of new scholarships, the hiring of top-notch faculty and improvements in technology.

During this time, he was president of several bar groups and, in 1997, served as president of the Virginia Bar Association. He is an elected Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, the American Bar Foundation and the Virginia Bar Foundation.

While at Bridgewater, Stone also chaired the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Presidents Council, and served as a member of the NCAA Executive Committee. He was president of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia and chaired the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Stone also chaired the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and was the 2010 recipient of that group’s James T. Rogers Leadership Award.

Stone retired as president of Bridgewater College in 2010 and was named president emeritus by the board of trusteesHe then joined three of his children in the Stone Law Group, a Harrisonburg law firm.

Stone has served as chairman of the board for Rockingham Memorial Hospital and was appointed by Virginia’s governor to the Commonwealth Transportation Board. He has been a board member of many non-profit groups, including WVPT Public Television.

An active member of the Church of the Brethren, he has chaired the denomination’s national board and multiple study committees. In 1991, he served as moderator of its Annual Conference, the highest elective office in the denomination.

Active in historical groups, Stone is a frequent lecturer on Abraham Lincoln and for the last 40 years has conducted a ceremony at a local Lincoln family cemetery to commemorate Lincoln’s birthday.  He is founder and president of the Lincoln Society of Virginia and has served on the advisory board of both the U.S. and the Virginia Lincoln Bicentennial Commissions. He is on the advisory board of the Lincoln Forum and is board chair at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest.

 Stone is the recipient of various awards and recognitions, including four honorary doctorates. In 1997, he was recognized as Distinguished Virginian by the Exchange Club, and in 1987 was named Churchman of the Year by the Religious Heritage Foundation.  Recipient of the Young Alumnus Award from Bridgewater College in 1982, he was also the first recipient of the Phillip C. Stone Award for Exemplary Service to the College. Upon his retirement as president, the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors and the General Assembly of Virginia passed resolutions honoring him for his lifelong contributions to education and the community.

Stone and his wife Cherrill, Bridgewater class of 1966, have four children, all Bridgewater College graduates, and four grandchildren, one of whom – Crystal – is a member of this year’s graduating class. Another, Phillip Stone III, is a rising junior.