July 12, 2019 / Vincennes University mourns the death of longtime
leader Phil Rath
VINCENNES, Ind. – Vincennes University President Chuck Johnson has
announced with a heavy heart the passing of longtime VU leader and
Vice President for Financial Services and Government Relations Phil Rath.
Rath passed away in the early morning on July 12, 2019.
He was dedicated to VU and served the University faithfully in a
variety of capacities. The Vincennes native began his career at VU as
controller in 1983 and advanced to the position of Vice President for
Financial Services and Government Relations in 2000.
Rath served VU and the greater Vincennes and Knox County region with
distinction for nearly four decades.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb recognized Rath for his esteemed
service to Hoosiers by bestowing him the prestigious Sagamore of the
Wabash, the highest honor in the state of Indiana. Rath also received
the 2019 Walter A. Davis Memorial Citation for Service presented by
the VU Alumni Association. The City of Vincennes honored him earlier
this week by renaming Oliphant Drive near Kimmell Park to the honorary
“Rath Way” as a symbol of the city’s appreciation of his selfless
service and his spirit of civic cooperation.
“The passing of Phil is not only a huge loss for Vincennes
University, but for the City of Vincennes and Knox County as well,”
Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum said. “Phil’s support on projects such as
Kimmell Park and the levee have substantially benefited the entire
community. I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to work with Phil over
the last several years.
“The City of Vincennes extends our deepest sympathy to the Rath family.”
Throughout Rath’s tenure at VU, the construction of many new
facilities and major renovations have taken place, some of which
include the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center, Indiana Center for
Applied Technology, Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing
and Logistics, Jasper Center for Technology, Innovation, and
Manufacturing, New Art and Design Center, Jefferson Student Union
Center, Mock Mine and Confined Space Facility, Kimmell Park
Renovation, and Updike Center for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics.
His transformational leadership at VU is a result of his decades of
service and leadership in economic and community development, his
immeasurable contributions and decades of work in serving the state of
Indiana, his tireless efforts in government relations, raising
Vincennes University's profile among state leaders, as well as his
involvement in civic leadership throughout Knox County.
Knox County Development Corporation President and CEO Kent Utt
remembered Rath for his get-it-done approach and his vast
contributions to VU, Knox County, region, and state.
“I can’t think of a person who had more
drive, gave 110 percent, was a hard-nosed charger for the betterment
of everything he set out to accomplish,” Utt said. “His tireless
commitment and leadership to make VU and Knox County a better place to
live, work, and play will be greatly missed. While many in our
community, region, and state talk about various initiatives,
improvements, and projects, Phil had the remarkable ability to execute
and get things done. Phil’s vision was honestly unmatched by anyone
that I have ever dealt with in my professional career. Phil was one of
the original founders of KCDC and his visionary leadership style set
the path for economic growth in the past, now, and in the future. Phil
was always supportive of KCDC and our mission.”
VU President Chuck Johnson summed it up
this way. “Phil had a driving passion for VU and a deep love for
Vincennes and Southwest Indiana. So much of his work happened in the
background, but his numerous contributions will benefit generations to
come. He will be greatly missed.”
Rath is survived by his wife, Marianne (Hulen); their children,
Mitch, Todd, and Jennifer; and grandchildren, Keaton, Noah, Baylor,
Campbell, Bristol, Brecken, Sadie, and Greyson.
Friends may visit with Rath’s family on July 16 from 2-7 p.m. at
Goodwin Funeral Home, 524 Broadway St. in Vincennes. A private
memorial service will be held at a later time.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the
Vincennes University Phillip Rath Scholarship online at https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1390/index.aspx?sid=1390&gid=1&pgid=379&cid=1020 and
click on the "GIVE to VU" button and select "VU Phillip
Rath Scholarship" or mail a check to "VU Phillip Rath
Scholarship" at Vincennes University, 1002 N. First Street,
Vincennes, Indiana, 47591 or drop off a donation to Diana Hatton, Room
165 in the Welsh Administration Building.
Vincennes University Newsroom
MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports
812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell,
Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom