Phi Gamma Hall was refurbished in 2018.

Phi Gamma Hall Reopening

Oxford College celebratees the reopening of Phi Gamma Hall on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

Join us at 3:00 p.m. for a colloquium on "Why a Sense of Place Matters on College Campuses."

Dedicatory remarks will start at 4:30 p.m. by Dwight A. McBride, provost of Emory University, and Oxford College Dean Douglas A. Hicks. A reception will follow at 4:45 p.m.

Built in 1851 as a debate hall, Phi Gamma Hall was refurbished in 2018 to provide an eminent space for public conversation and exchange of ideas through seminars, conferences, meetings, and events.

Colloquium Participants

Lawrence BiemillerLawrence Biemiller

Lawrence Biemiller works as a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education. A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, Biemiller has been at The Chronicle since 1980.

He writes frequently about campus architecture, the arts, and small colleges, among many other topics.


Doug HicksDouglas A. Hicks
Dean, Oxford College of Emory University

Douglas Hicks joined Oxford College as dean in July 2016. Prior to coming to Oxford, Hicks was a professor and senior administrator at Colgate University. He served Colgate as provost and dean of the faculty. From 1998 to 2012, Hicks was professor of leadership studies and religion at the University of Richmond’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies. He was the founding director of the university’s Bonner Center for Civic Engagement. Hicks received an AB degree magna cum laude with honors in economics from Davidson College, an MDiv summa cum laude from Duke University, and MA and PhD degrees in religion from Harvard University. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Hicks has held visiting faculty positions at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond and at the Harvard Divinity School. 

Sonia HirtSonia A. Hirt
Dean and Hughes Professor in Landscape Architecture and Planning,
University of Georgia

Initially trained as an architect in her hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria, Hirt holds a master's and a doctoral degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the University of Georgia, she served as dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at the University of Maryland in College Park; associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Virginia Tech; and visiting associate professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

David ThomasDavid A. Thomas
President, Morehouse College

Thomas became the 12th president of Morehouse College in January 2018. He is the former H. Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and the former Dean of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He is also a former assistant professor of management at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. With 30 years of higher education experience, he holds a doctorate in organizational behavior studies and a Master of Philosophy degree in organizational behavior, both from Yale University. He also has a master’s degree in organizational psychology from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Administrative Sciences degree from Yale College. Prior to Georgetown, Thomas served for two decades as a professor and administrator at Harvard University.

Lee ZakLeocadia "Lee" I. Zak
President, Agnes Scott College

Zak became the ninth president of Agnes Scott College in July 2018. With an extensive background in international economic development and international project finance, Zak served for seven years as the director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), an independent federal agency that advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. She first joined the agency in 2000, and prior to her appointment as director, she served as general counsel, deputy director and acting director under the Bush and Obama administrations. Before joining the public sector, Zak spent 18 years at the Boston law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo PC, which she joined as an associate in 1982. More recently, Zak has taught as an adjunct faculty member at the Georgetown University Law Center and the Boston University School of Law. Zak, a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, also holds a J.D. degree from Northeastern University School of Law.