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W&L Mourns Loss of Phil Cline, Emeritus Economics Professor

Phil Cline
Phil Cline
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Philip L. Cline, the Lewis Whitaker Adams Professor of Management and Economics Emeritus at Washington and Lee University, died Tuesday at his home in Lexington. He was 64.

The family will receive friends at a visitation from 5 until 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2010, at Harrison Funeral Home, 714 Main Street, Lexington, Virginia. A memorial service will be held at Harrison Funeral Home at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 17, 2010.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic, 25 Northridge Lane, Lexington, VA 24450.

Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on July 10, 1945, Cline was the son of the late Natha and Maurice Cline. He graduated from Washington and Lee in 1967 with a degree in economics. After earning his master's and Ph.D. degrees from Oklahoma State University, he returned to his alma mater in September 1975 and taught until his retirement from the faculty last May.

"Phil was a dedicated teacher, a generous colleague and a devoted alumnus of Washington and Lee," said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio. "His many contributions to academic and student life constitute his legacy. I join faculty, staff, alumni and students who will remember him with respect and affection."

An award-winning teacher, Cline's specialties were in statistics, quantitative models, business in a changing world, economics and management information systems.

"As an alumnus who returned to Washington and Lee because of his love of teaching, it is appropriate that Phil Cline was the first W&L faculty member to win the Outstanding Teaching Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia," said Larry Peppers, dean of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. "Phil be remembered as a wonderful colleague who had what he called an ‘Okie sense of humor.' We will all miss him as a colleague and a friend."

In 1987, Cline received the prestigious SCHEV teaching award, the Commonwealth of Virginia's highest honor for faculty at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities. The SCHEV awards recognize superior accomplishments in teaching, research and public service.

That was one of a number of awards that Cline received during his 34-year tenure at W&L. He was named a Fulbright senior scholar at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago for 1999-2000. He was also the recipient of grants from the United Nations, the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the W&L Class 1965 Endowment for Excellence in Teaching, among others.

Cline was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma, national business honor society; Omicron Delta Epsilon, national economics honor society; and Phi Kappa Phi, national academic honor society.

Cline's expertise in computing systems led to his co-authoring in 1989 a long-range plan for administrative computing at W&L. In addition, two of the NSF grants that he received were to develop computer-assisted instruction modules for macroeconomics courses and an interactive linear programming package.

Active in the Lexington and Rockbridge County communities, he was a volunteer with both United Way and the American Cancer Society and served as a youth league soccer coach. He was also a strong supporter of efforts to preserve the Chesapeake Bay.

Cline is survived by his wife, Julie; two children, Benjamin L. Cline and wife, Elizabeth, of Lexington; and Susan E. Cline Lucey and husband, Mark, of Burlington, Vt.; and two grandsons, Emmett and Zinn.