Posted February 25, 2015

Temple Trustee: “The sky is not the limit”

Joseph V. Labolito
"The sky is not the limit," Temple Trustee Phillip Richards, FOX ’62, told students at the first Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series event held Feb. 10.

At the first Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series event held Feb. 10, Temple Trustee Phillip Richards, FOX ’62, told students that if elephants in Thailand can paint with their trunks, then Temple students can accomplish anything.

A self-made millionaire who attended Temple on a wrestling scholarship, Richards attributes his success to what he learned and experienced at the university.

“Temple University changes lives forever, and I am living proof of Russell Conwell’s dream,” said Richards. “Life can pull you down if you let it, but being Temple Made means the sky is not the limit—you can do anything you set out to do.”

Richards was Temple student body president and wrestling team captain. He won the prestigious Sword Award as outstanding senior classman and was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2009.

“The best way to understand the term ‘Temple Made’ is to look at Phil Richards,” said President Neil D. Theobald. “His life epitomizes Temple students today—determined, driven and ingenious. He started with $1,000 and grew his company to one of the largest organizations of its kind in the world.”

Richards is chairman and CEO of the North Star Resource Group, a financial services conglomerate with 105,000 clients and 45 offices in 16 states. A leader in his field, he received the distinguished John Newton Russell Award, the highest honor in the insurance industry, and he is also the only person to receive the prestigious GAMA International Master Firm Award every year since 1988.

An international speaker and author, Richards published his first book, 25 Secrets for Sustainable Success, in 2007. He has been an active member of Temple’s Board of Trustees since 2009, serving on several committees and generously supporting the university. He is donating the proceeds of his latest book, The Sky is Not the Limit, to nonprofits, including Temple.

Temple University Provost Hai-Lung Dai and the Temple Student Government launched the Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series to feature exemplary role models whose paths began with a Temple degree. “By interacting with accomplished alumni whose Temple education led to great success, students can see the connections between theory, knowledge and the real world,” said Dai. “It gives them hope that they too can come out on top.”

- Hedy Taub Baker