Phillips, Alfred E. (1863-1931) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
Alfred E. Phillips was born on June 18, 1863, at Rouses Point, New York. He was educated in private schools in Rouses Point, and in public schools in Champlain, New York, and La Colle, Quebec, Canada. He was tutored for college by a clergyman who had trained in engineering, and in 1883 entered Union College in Schenectady, New York.
He attended Union College four years and graduated with the degrees of A. B. and C. E. He then went to Tennesee with the Cumberland Valley and Unaka Railroad, running a traverse across the Cumberland mountains from Knoxville to the Atlantic coast.
In the fall of 1887, Professor Phillips went to Purdue University and established the department of civil engineering, and remained there as the head of the department until 1894. During this time he was the assistant engineer of the New York State Board of Health, and engaged in examining the water supply of New York City.
From Purdue he went to the University of Wisconsin, where he was an acting professor in bridge and hydraulic engineering. After one year he was engaged in private work throughout Illinois and Indiana in sewage disposal and water supply engineering.
In 1899 Professor Phillips went to the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago, as a professor of civil engineering. Union College awarded his A.M. in 1890 and his Ph.D. in 1894 from there. He was an honorary member of Tau Beta Pi, a charter member of the Armour chapter of Chi Epsilon, and honorary member of Triangle fraternity. During the years 1901 to 1907 he wrote five textbooks on surveying, highway construction, masonry construction, irrigation and roof trusses.