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Trinity Magazine 2007 | Trustee Profile: Laura Hathaway Phillips ’80

Trustee Profile: Laura Hathaway Phillips ’80, Vice Chair

Laura Hathaway Phillips '80

Laura Hathaway Phillips '80

Hometown: Wilmington, Delaware.

Personal: Married to Jared Cornfeld; two children.

Alma Mater: Trinity College, Class of 1980.

Major: Economics (under the sometimes stern tutelage of Sr. Martha Julie!).

Graduate Study: J.D., Washington College of Law, American University 1986.

Employment: Law Firm Partner, Drinker, Biddle and Reath LLC, Washington, D.C.

Why I chose Trinity: We took the trip to D.C. to scout colleges for my older sister and once I saw Trinity, its faculty and its students, I was hooked.  The location in Washington, D.C., was very important.  I liked the fact that Trinity emphasized student internships and the internship opportunities were phenomenal.  The campus was neat and secure and had a sense of order and tradition, but was still open enough to change and accommodated individuality – Pat McGuire was going to law school at the time I was at Trinity and she was our dorm resident!   The women of Trinity (faculty, deans and students) helped shape my thinking and behavior in ways I still see today.  I just knew going in that I was at the right place for me to learn and grow.

Accomplishment of which you are most proud: There are many parts of my work that are really interesting and satisfying.  I have spent years working on U.S. telecommunications law and policy, always trying to help the new guy break in, to enhance competition and choice in services.  I was around when the first cellular systems were launched in the U.S. and we have come a long way since then. I am very proud, for example, to have helped Sprint Nextel in a number of its spectrum policy efforts.  But for a single accomplishment, I guess I would have to say finishing law school.  I attended at night while working full time as a paralegal, so it took me four years. I remember the exhilaration of my graduation day when that diploma was placed in my hands!  It was phenomenal.  I would never have had the courage and determination to try to self-finance and tackle law school, however, without the grounding I had at Trinity.

Most memorable Trinity moment: I enjoyed being a student but really, I have to say being on the Board of Trustees, particularly when we undertake great things collectively for the good of the institution.  Trinity is an amazing place, and the work is as meaningful as anything I do professionally.

Last book read: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

My idea of a perfect vacation: Barging through the canals of Ireland.

If I were stranded on a deserted island I would have to have: Food.  This shows you how very practical I am.  Did I mention that I would probably also want wine?

The three people I would most like to have dinner with: Henry VIII, Abraham Lincoln and Madame Curie.

Why I am a Trinity trustee: Pat McGuire asked me!  Seriously, though, at a recent meeting all the trustees took turns talking about their reasons for committing to serve Trinity, and their hopes for Trinity’s future.  The room brimmed with enthusiasm for Trinity’s bright future.  I choose to be involved with Trinity because there is a great sense of dynamism to the institution today.  I have seen the tremendous growth that has taken place under President McGuire’s leadership and vision, and I believe in the mission.  Today’s students need and deserve the kind of education that Trinity provides.  Who would not want to be part of this, and do her part to work to empower all women?

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