Sun. May 26th, 2024

Image: Dr.T on The Moldy Oldies Show

After 27 years as faculty, West Chester University’s (WCU) beloved Dr. Philip Thompsen will be retiring after teaching his last class this summer. Dr. T is a professor in the department of communication and media, but he says he found the most joy in his career by advising all three of the student media organizations: The Quad, WCU Studios and WCU Radio (WCUR). He says that “advising student media is a very rewarding part of my job.”

After graduating from high school, Philip Thompsen did not plan on attending a college or university; he had made up his mind to work in radio right away. He worked in radio for about 10 years, but towards the end of those years, he began attending college on a scholarship at Northern Arizona University. He received his undergraduate degree there, and his favorite professor inspired him to go get his master’s degree. Throughout the early years of his career, he discovered a passion for undergraduate media education. “I teach at the undergraduate level because of what I like to teach: broadcasting and radio,” he says.

Before coming to West Chester University, Dr. T found himself traveling all over the country, learning and teaching media. One day in 1997, the chair of the WCU Communication and Media Department was looking for someone to help start a radio station at the school. At the University of Utah, Dr T’s friend, who also happened to be his committee chair, pushed for him to do an interview. On Sept. 1, 1999, 91.7FM WCUR was born, and has been active on campus ever since. 

Though Dr. Thompson taught in many places, he remained at West Chester for 27 of his forty years teaching. When asked why he decided to stay here, he responded “I like it here!” He says WCU is not huge, but it’s grown quite a bit since he began teaching here. He finds his job to be most rewarding when he helps students achieve success after graduation. He says, “seeing students go into successful careers brings me the most joy.” 

Courtney Medwin,  a graduate student who Dr. T has advised and helped throughout her time at West Chester, has a few words to say about Dr. T: 

“Dr. T was a wonderful mentor during my four years here at West Chester. He pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me get better every time we worked together. I’ll always remember my Campbell’s soup pitch!” 

Thompsen has learned from his students that “even though things look sometimes grim, they’re really not. It’s better to be happy than sad and it’s better to look forward instead of backwards.” Interacting with students has taught him to see the good in everything and have a more positive outlook on life. 

Throughout his career, Dr. Thompsen has been an active member of the Broadcast Education Association, an international organization for scholars of broadcasting and digital media.

Dr. T. has taught alongside Vernon Odem, former veteran reporter on 6ABC Philadelphia. The pair met at The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Banquet in 1999, the year Odem was named person of the year. The pair teaches the class “The Philadelphia Media Experience,” which includes guest speakers of media professionals such as Walter Perez, Tamala Edwards and Ducis Rogers. Students have said the class is one of the most valuable educational experiences they’ve ever had.

At WCUR, West Chester’s official radio station, Dr. T. has held the longest running show: The Moldy Oldies Show. It airs every Tuesday, 2-4 p.m., often accompanied by Vernon Odem. 

After he retires, Dr. T plans on relaxing, as well as getting more involved in his local church. He sings in the choir and plans to become a member of the diocese of convention, and also helps to stream their digital content. Dr. T. plans on staying in Pennsylvania for the time being. 

Dr. Philip Thompsen has clearly made a profound impact on the lives of everyone he’s come into contact with. His dedication to teaching media and helping students become successful in the field has shown his selflessness and kindness to everyone at West Chester University. As Dr. T bids farewell to his treasured career at WCU, his legacy of mentorship, dedication and kindness will continue to resonate throughout the campus for years to come. 


Emily Nalbone is a third-year Communication Studies major with a minor in Media and Culture.

Lily Burke is a second-year Media and Culture major with a minor in Journalism.

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