Dr. Elizabeth Capaldi Phillips Memorial Fund

Honor the achievements of Dr. Elizabeth Capaldi Phillips by supporting the Dr. Elizabeth Capaldi Phillips Memorial Fund Endowment.

Dr. Elizabeth Capaldi Phillips Memorial Fund

Honor the achievements of Dr. Elizabeth Capaldi Phillips by supporting the Dr. Elizabeth Capaldi Phillips Memorial Fund Endowment.

Your generosity will provide scholarship support for graduate students studying the psychology of eating— Betty's research focus and passion.


About Dr. Elizabeth Capaldi Phillips:

A proud native New Yorker, and daughter of a New York City police captain. Never one to stand on a ceremony despite her many achievements and honors, Phillips always preferred to go by "Betty."

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.


"Betty's life was one dedicated to learning and teaching and discovery. She had a relentless focus on helping universities do what we do better. ASU is fulfilling its vision as a New American University in no small measure because of her effort, creativity and leadership. It is a better institution and a better servant of the people because of Betty Phillips." — ASU President, Michael M. Crow


Dr. Elizabeth Capaldi Phillips & Arizona State University:

Elizabeth, Betty, Capaldi Phillips served as the University Provost and Executive Vice President of Arizona State University from 2006 to 2013. She was the first woman to hold the post and shepherded 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, interdisciplinary, 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.


A fine token of Phillips' remarkable talents can be found in a recent initiative: Eating Psychology with Betty, a TV production sponsored on PBS by Arizona State University. In thirteen full episodes from March to October 2016, Betty took a lifetime of scientific research, writing, and teaching on nutrition, eating, and obesity, and applied it to how we should think about food, diet, and cooking. Throughout the thirteen episodes, we can see her expertise, her charm, and her skillful ability to capture both research-validated substance and human interest and engagement.


At ASU and throughout her career, Phillips led by empowering others, modeling 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 interdisciplinary in both research and teaching. She was always a mentor to women and personally invested in increasing their representation in the administrative ranks.


Research and Passion: 

Phillips' passion for research fueled her life-long commitment to higher education and distinguished administrative career. 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.

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