MTSA President L. Phil Hunt, RN, EdD will retire on May 13 following 35-years of nursing service and leadership in both healthcare and education. Hunt joined MTSA as President in May of 2005 after serving as Dean of the School of Nursing at Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee where he also served as professor of nursing. The MTSA Board is currently involved in a search for a new president.
Under Dr. Hunt’s leadership many important developments in the advancement of MTSA have occurred. He initiated and implemented a master expansion/development plan including the purchase of buildings A & B from Tennessee Christian Medical Center and the three acres on which they are located; and he led renovation and construction projects including the addition of the classroom/lecture hall, simulation skills center, and renovation of the two buildings. He too was very instrumental in the $3.0 million goal “Building the Future” fundraising campaign to finance these additions and renovations. The campaign is currently at 68 percent and has raised more than $2.0 million.
Hunt’s influence has been felt in implementing formal policies and procedures including an updated Administrative Manual and a Board of Trustee’s Handbook. His presence was also seen in the classroom where he enjoyed teaching his class -- ANED 520 Education. As a Christian gentleman, he constantly reminded those with whom he worked that “God is in control” and that “we may not know the final answer, but God does.” He said that he is particularly honored to have seen the physical plant and facilities improved to better reflect the excellent educational program. “Now the buildings mirror what has been taking place academically, and I am very pleased about that.” He too is pleased with the development of faculty and staff, with additions and educational achievements to reflect the progression of the school.
When asked what he is most disappointed about as he leaves MTSA, he reflected that he had hoped to see a successful completion of the “Building the Future Campaign”, adding that “we can’t control the economy.”
Dr. Hunt said he had hopes of teaching the last few years of his career, “but God had other plans.” He said his tenure at MTSA has been “growth producing,” and that, “when you see the Lord leading – it’s best to follow – and that’s why I came to MTSA.”
“Over Dr. Hunt's five-year tenure at MTSA, the school has experienced unprecedented success,” said Steven L. Dickerson, MD, Chairman of the MTSA Board of Trustees. “While there are many metrics to judge success, none is more important than the exemplary quality of the educational experience MTSA has provided during Dr. Hunt's time here. The board appreciates Phil's efforts on behalf of the school, and wishes him the best of luck as he starts a new and exciting chapter in his life.”
Dr. Hunt is a graduate of Pacific Union College with an Associate Degree in Nursing, and Southern Adventist University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. He graduated from Teachers College at Columbia University, New York City in 1976 with a Masters of Education with an emphasis in Adult Health, and in 1988 he earned his Doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum & Instruction in Higher Education Cognate - Nursing from Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.
Additional work experience include positions at Southwestern Adventist University, Keene, Texas where he was an Associate Professor of Nursing; he worked as a staff ER and ICU nurse at Huguley Memorial Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas; and was Vice President of Nursing at Washington Adventist Hospital.
Dr. Hunt’s love for mission service is well documented and evidenced by his many stations of duty. Some of his work background includes: Director of School of Health Occupations in Taipei, Taiwan; Consultant for Mission College, Muak Lek, Thailand; consulting work at Penang Adventist Hospital, College of Nursing, Penang, Malaysia; and Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital in Hangzhou, China.
Following his retirement, Dr. Hunt and his wife Connie will be moving to Thailand for one or two years where two of their daughters and families currently serve as missionaries. He has plans to be a consultant for Penang Adventist Hospital College of Nursing where they plan to develop a School of Allied Health, and he too will consult with Asia Pacific International University (formerly Mission College). “So many countries have done with much less than we have here in the states,” said Hunt. “As a consultant, it is so gratifying to see the results of the input given and what a suggestion here or there can make for the direction of the institution.”
MTSA Vice President/Dean/Program Administrator Ikey DeVasher (‘69/’94) CRNA, PhD, APN said, “I’ve been fully aware of God’s leading in sending Dr. Hunt to be President of MTSA. He has brought beauty to our campus, peace to our work-place, leadership for the accreditation process, and a vision for the future, all while staying true to our mission.” She continued saying, “I thank Dr. Hunt for listening to the voice of God directing him to MTSA, will miss his Godly advice and influence, and pray that God not only lead him in the next phase of his life – but will also provide MTSA someone who is equally as dedicated to the full mission of this School as he has been.”
No article on Dr. Hunt would be complete without mentioning his love of outdoors and his hobby of wood-working and craftsmanship. He has handmade 39 guitars, two mandolins, two banjos, one lute, one dulcimer, and many other beautiful wooden items. He hand-crafted a wooden, stylized keepsake for each MTSA employee as a Christmas gift just a few months ago.
“It has been a privilege and honor to work at a school that has such a high standard of Seventh-day Adventist Christian education,” said Hunt. “I challenge those who continue to lead MTSA to maintain this standard and focus as they prepare students to graduate and become excellent anesthesia providers.”