Getting to know...Phillip Stone
Every campus needs someone like Phillip Stone, and Wofford College is fortunate to have him.
Stone is the college archivist who works in the library, a virtual lifer at Wofford who not only knows about the history of the school and its surroundings, but more importantly he cares about it.
“Some people will tell you that history is just names and dates,” says Stone, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina. “I disagree with that. I think history is a great story that we all share. It’s important to use our knowledge of the past as we build our future.”
Stone grew up on the western side of Spartanburg County. He has attended Bethel United Methodist Church in downtown Spartanburg as long as he can remember. His roots in this area are deep, and they spread throughout the campus.
As a Wofford student on assignment for the Old Gold & Black campus newspaper, he went to the archives at the Sandor Teszler library to check on some sources. The student assistant there let him know he was leaving, and Stone asked for the job. If you’ll pardon the pun, the rest is history.
Stone worked as a student assistant for three years, mentored by the late Herbert Hucks (class of 1934). Now he is in charge of the archives, and they couldn’t be in more reliable hands.
Even though he’s still at the library, Stone has ventured into new territory this fall. He is teaching a class in Southern politics on his own.
“That has sort of taken over my life,” he says.
He recalls when his love of history did the same thing at an early age.
“I remember getting one of those books of presidential biographies in third grade and being fascinated by it to the point where I memorized all the information,” Stone says. “Not just the famous presidents, but people like James K. Polk and Rutherford B. Hayes. I learned a lot about American history early and I’ve just built on that knowledge over the years.”
It’s his knowledge of local history that is most impressive. Together with friends Doyle Boggs and Charlie Gray, he puts together a tour of historical places throughout South Carolina for Wofford alums called Orbiting Seminar. Alum Rodger Stroupe, director of archives and history for the state, helps out.
“We go out together and do some scouting,” says Stone. “It’s nice to be able to pull together your own academic knowledge of a subject such as South Carolina history and see how it affects a local community. Then to get all these people together who share your love of local history is really a neat thing.”
Stone has many other interests, too.
• Phi Beta Kappa…Stone has been Wofford’s co-secretary since 2001 and as a resident member he helps select Wofford students for the honor
• Microbrewing…a gag gift he got one Christmas that he has learned to master
• Cooking…He says his baked goods are among the most checked out things at the library
• Church…A member of the same church his grandparents belonged to in the 1930’s, Bethel United Methodist is a huge part of his life. He is actually the church’s archivist as well.
Stone also loves to travel, but is needed too much at home to get away very often. The man who guards over the history of Wofford is practically a library in and of himself.