ELIZABETH D. CAPALDI PHILLIPS

Obituary
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PHILLIPS, ELIZABETH D. CAPALDI
Elizabeth D. Capaldi Phillips, University Professor, Professor of Psychology and Provost Emerita at Arizona State University died on September 23, 2017 in Gainesville, Florida, after a long illness.
A proud native New Yorker, and daughter of a New York City police captain, Phillips attended Flushing High School. Never one to stand on ceremony despite her many achievements and honors, Phillips always preferred to go by 'Betty.' She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester in 1965 and her Ph.D. degree in experimental psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1969. Phillips' long and productive career as a research scientist was particularly focused on the psychology of eating, a subject on which she edited two books, including Why We Eat What We Eat: The Psychology of Eating and Taste, Experience and Feeding with T.L. Powley. She contributed over 80 chapters and articles to the scientific literature, and co-authored three editions of an introductory psychology textbook. She was a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science (serving as its president in 1999-2000), and the Midwestern Psychological Association (serving as its president in 1991-92). A member of numerous national research review committees, Phillips served from 1987-1989 as Chair of the Psychobiology and Behavior Research Review Committee of the National Institute of Mental Health.
Phillips' passion for research fueled her life-long commitment to higher education and distinguished administrative career. That career began at Purdue University, where Phillips held her first academic position, rising to Head of the Department of Psychological Sciences (1983-88) and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School (1982-86). Phillips moved to the University of Florida in 1988, and served as Provost there from 1996-99. At Florida, she was instrumental in creating a new student advising system which was responsible for dramatic improvements in graduation rates; it was therefore not surprising when in the year after her departure she was elected to Florida's Friends of Students Hall of Fame. In 2000 Phillips became Provost and Professor of Psychology at the University at Buffalo, subsequently moving to Albany to take up a position as Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff of the State University of New York in 2003. During her tenure the Office of Science Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach was created at the University at Buffalo and sponsored research increased substantially. Especially noteworthy was her work in obtaining $61 million in state funds, $20 million in federal funds and over $150 million in corporate and foundation support for the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences. Phillips was named 'Citizen of the Year' by the New York State Society of Professional Engineers in 2003, and on January 9, 2004, 'Elizabeth D. Capaldi Day' was declared in the County of Erie, New York.
From 2006 to 2013, Phillips served as University Provost and Executive Vice President of the Arizona State University, becoming the first woman to hold the post, shepherding the university through an exciting period of transformation and growth. Always passionate about public education, Phillips provided leadership to all of the Arizona State University's campuses and academic programs, fostering excellence in teaching, research and service to the community. Phillips' tenure at ASU was distinguished by an unflagging commitment to equality, access, inclusion, interdisciplinarity, and technological innovation in the service of student-centered education. Phillips worked with President Michael Crow in transforming ASU into a 'New American University,' that aimed to challenge the standard definition of a research university by 'measuring its academic success through the education that the graduates have received rather than the qualifications of the incoming freshman class.' Interviewed soon after she'd joined ASU as Provost, Phillips declared her priority to be 'helping our students find majors that fit them, that allow them to succeed,' which, she said, was 'great fun.' For ASU and for Phillips, the key was to treat each student as an individual. Her technological innovations in this regard included a platform for adaptive learning courses powered by interactive technology that better enabled faculty and administrators to monitor student performance and meet student needs. At ASU and throughout her career, Phillips led by empowering others, modelling a spirit of transparency, trust, entrepreneurship and collaboration with faculty across the university who shared her vision, resulting in campus-wide innovations in online education and ground-breaking interdisciplinarity in both research and teaching. She was always a mentor to women and personally invested in increasing their representation in the administrative ranks.
For Phillips, a self-described fitness fanatic who exercised in order to better enjoy pasta and ice cream, as well as a gourmet cook who traveled to Italy to refine her skills, life and work were closely intertwined around a variety of pleasures, including her beloved dogs (her favorite breed was the kuvasz), and her love of food. After retiring from administration, in 2016 Phillips, whose research was widely cited in the popular press and media, hosted a show for Arizona public television based on her ongoing experimental work with animal and human subjects, 'Eating Psychology with Betty.' Here Phillips' charisma, pedagogical skill, humor and joi de vivre were on full display as she discussed the 'biology, genetics, social and learned behaviors of tasting and eating food,' urging audiences to 'train their taste buds,' to enjoy their food without guilt or shame, and to apply what they learned in their own kitchens. Observing that 'people eat without paying attention; they don't even realize they eat,' Phillips, who served as co-director of the Obesity Solutions Initiative at ASU, used her considerable expertise to give viewers a better understanding of their eating experience. With her typical lack of pretension, she transformed specialized knowledge into accessible entertainment, giving viewers more control over and pleasure in eating.
All who had the privilege and pleasure of working with Betty knew her as a dynamo, whose boundless warmth, generosity, energy, intelligence, strength, grit, and humor made hard work look easy. Her impact on higher education, on innumerable colleagues and students, and on the general public is and will remain immeasurable. John Lombardi, the President under whom she served as Provost at the University of Florida, said of her passing: 'the world of American higher education has surely lost one of the finest people we will ever know.' She is survived by her loving husband, Dr. Winfred Phillips, Executive Chief of Staff at the University of Florida, her brothers, Peter Deutsch of Florida, Edward Deutsch of Missouri, and David Deutsch of New Jersey, her nieces, Helen Deutsch of Los Angeles, Ruthanne Deutsch of Virginia, and Karen Frank of Colorado, her nephew, Eric Deutsch of Colorado, and her great nieces and nephews, Theodore Meranze, Nicolas Aliaga, Benjamin Aliaga, Kailyn and Matthew Frank, and Emory, Elsa, and Annika Deutsch.
Expressions of sympathy may be expressed by a contribution to a .

Published in Gainesville Sun from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 2017
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