MTSU Honors College Dean Receives National Phi Kappa Phi Scholar Award

MTSU Honors College Dean John Vile, left, and Associate Dean Philip Phillips hold The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi Scholar Award for 2020-22 for Vile’s excellence in teaching, research and public service in a career spanning 40 years. Phillips nominated Vile for the Honor. MTSU photo by Marsha Powers

MURFREESBORO, TN — Middle Tennessee State University Honors College Dean John R. Vile is the 2020-22 recipient of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi Scholar Award.

Vile, Honors dean since 2008, earned the recognition citation for his excellence in teaching, research and public service. He recently received the award from the national Phi Kappa Phi organization, which canceled its annual in-person meeting because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Phi Kappa Phi Scholar and Artist awards honor those individuals who demonstrate the ideals of the society through their activities, achievements and scholarship. Recipients receive the citation, life membership and a $1,000 donation to a nonprofit of their choice (he chose the Honors College). Scholar awards are presented every two years.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award from an organization that focuses primarily upon recognizing the achievements of undergraduates students since I consider myself to be a lifelong learner,” Vile said.

“Phi Kappa Phi will always have a special place in my heart because my daughter, Virginia, who attended MTSU, was a recipient of its undergraduate fellowship award, which helped her attend law school,” he added.

Vile was nominated by Philip Phillips, Honors College associate dean and outgoing Phi Kappa Phi chapter president.

Society Executive Director Mary Todd said the award “affirms John Vile as a model of the teacher-scholar, as evidenced by his distinguished and highly productive academic career and long service to the academy.”

Vile has made significant contributions to scholarship in the field of political science, spanning a 40-year career. He has contributed broadly to governmental, political and historical literature by authoring more than 25 books, editing or co-editing 15 books and many chapters and peer-reviewed publications.

The Virginia native, with degrees from The College of William and Mary (bachelor of arts) and the University of Virginia (doctorate), is frequently consulted by media on political issues because of his recognized expertise.

His recent professional years have been some of the most productive in his career. In the past five years, Vile has authored five encyclopedias, four of which are published and one pending publication — on the American flag, Declaration of Independence, Liberty Bell, national anthem and the Bible in American law and politics.

The Phi Kappa Phi award joins a number of honors, including the MTSU Outstanding Career Achievement Award, MTSU Distinguished Service Award, the Congressman Neal Smith Award for contributions to law-related education and induction into the American Mock Trial Association Hall of Fame.  

Vile is a community leader, pastoring a local church in Beechgrove, Tennessee, for nearly 20 years, teaching Sunday school and leading a Bible study for immigrants. He received the statewide Harold Love Award for Public Service for 2017-18.