Philip Church earned a BA at Wesleyan 1953, MA at Harvard 1954 and Ph.D. at Michigan 1959 (completed in August 1958), and wrote his dissertation under the direction of Gail S. Young. He joined SU as assistant professor in 1958, and was promoted to associate professor in 1962, professor in 1965, and Francis H. Root Professor in 1976. Phil was a Danforth fellow 1953-1957, a member of the Institute for Defense Analyses in Princeton 1962-1963, a member of the Institute for Advanced Study spring 1962 and 1965-1966, an NSF senior postdoctoral fellow 1965-1966, a visiting fellow at Princeton spring 1976, and distinguished visiting professor at the University of Alberta fall 1986.
His research interests are singularity theory, global analysis, topology and nonlinear elliptic partial differential equations. Phil has published 51 papers, about 40% with Jim Timourian. Item 50 totaling 137 pages constitutes two of nine invited lectures published in Topological Nonlinear Analysis II: Degree, Singularity and Variations, edited by Matzeu nd Vignoli, and is a survey of research on fold and cusp maps largely due to Phil and Jim. He was one of the 6 organizers and an hour speaker at the 29th AMS summer institute, on singularities in 1981, and has also given invited hour lectures at meetings of the Canadian Mathematical Society in 1982 and 1989. Phil has had 6 Ph.D students: James Timourian (1967), William Nathan (1968), J. Richard Walker (1970), Christine Beaucage (Ph.D. from SUNY Stony Brook 1971), Agnes Hsu (1972), and Carl Shepardson (1973).
Phil was editor for topology for the AMS Transactions and Memoirs 1974-1977 (chair of editorial committee1977) and member of the following AMS committees: council 1974-1977 and 1980, publication problems 1976-1978, research announcements 1977-1980, membership 1980-1982, committee on committees 1977-1978, and committee to monitor problems in communication 1978-1980 (chair 1980). He is a member of AMS, MAA, AAUP, Sigma Xi and Phi Beta Kappa, was named SU Scholar/Teacher of the year 1989, and has been listed in Who's Who in America from the 44th edition (1986-1987) to the current 56th edition (2002).
He was a member of the Department's executive committee 1963-64, 1969-1970, 1971-1973, 1977-1979, 1981-1983, 1984-1986, 1987-1989, 1990-1991, 1992-1994, 1995-1997, of the graduate committee 1966-1969, 1973-1975, 1979-1980, 1989-1990, and a member of 9 ad hoc committees on renewal, promotion and/or tenure (chair of 6 of them). Phil was chair of the search committee for mathematics education 1990-1994, committee on statistics fall 1983, computer committee 1994-1995 and he gave 16 (graduate student recruiting) talks at small colleges 1979-1992. He was a Future Professoriate Mentor (mentoring May Hamdan, Laura Bernhofen, Mary Porter, Kevin Ferland and Matthew Boelkins) 1992-2000, a member of the AAHE Peer Review of Teaching Project 1994-1998 and the Committee on Computer Resources 1992-1994, and taught AMSTEX workshops 1991-1992. He was a member of the Tenure Committee of the College 1982-1985 (chair 1983-1984).
For the University he was a member of the Task Force on Statistics 1980-1981, subcommittee on sciences of the Senate research committee spring 1982, board of graduate studies and its program committee 1991-1994, Chancellor's task force on teaching awards spring 1992, and the committee to select TAs for Outstanding Teaching Awards (Graduate School) 1994 and 1995. Also he was a member of the selection committee for Meredith Professorships spring 1995 and spring 1996, the Future Professoriate Program 1992-2000, AAHE Peer Review of Teaching project 1994-1998, Senate 1996-1999 and its Research Committee 1996-1999.
Phil retired in 2001 after 43 years of service. Since then he has remained active, publishing a 48 page paper and drafting biographies and editing history for the Department's website. In February 2002 Doug Anderson announced that there would be two continuing series of two-year appointments, one to begin in August 2002 and the other in August 2003, each to be called a Philip T. Church Postdoctoral Fellow.
Philip Church passed away July 17, 2015 in Fayetteville, NY.
Sources: Phil's August 1998 cv and personal knowledge; The Post-Standard obituary.