Senior Spotlight: Philip Buford, Military Family with Wittenberg Roots

From Germany to Springfield, Ohio, senior Philip Buford has spent his whole life traveling the United States and the world, but found his home at Wittenberg University these past four years.

Buford was born in Ausburg, Germany to parents Anntoinette and Philip Wade Buford. His family lived in Germany until he was eight-years-old while both of his parents served in the military, his mom as a recruiting commander and his dad as a chemical engineer. After moving back to the United States at age nine, he continued to experience the military lifestyle while living in Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Georgia and Virginia. His family eventually settled down in Arlington at the age of 11, where his father retired from the military and started a new job as a chief analyst at The Pentagon.

With all the traveling during his childhood, Buford says that “he wouldn’t have it any other way,” due to one of his passions being traveling and experiencing different cultures.

Philip Wade Buford, ’86, was also a Wittenberg alumni, contributing to Buford’s decision to attend Wittenberg. This is ironic because his father rarely mentioned Wittenberg until he started looking at different colleges. In fact, Wittenberg was Buford’s second choice. After failing a medical exam for West Point, he decided to give Wittenberg a chance. However, Buford’s father passed away during the first week of his freshman year, making his college transition a rough a start. He missed the first two weeks of classes, but with help from professors and fellow students, Buford persevered and stayed at Witt.

He thought about transferring to George Washington University which was closer to home, but knew his father would want him to stick it out and not “take the coward way out of the situation.”

After overcoming his loss, Buford found his place at Wittenberg and became very involved on campus. He is currently the president of Concerned Black Students, the vice president of Wittenberg club basketball, a Phi Kappa Psi brother, a resident advisor in Firestine, as well as participating in Emerging Leaders and on the Student Conduct Board his sophomore year. While looking back on his involvement, Buford shared a laugh.

“I actually have a funny story about Firestine. I accepted a prank freshman year to streak the main hallway in Firstine while an RA was doing a round upstairs,” Buford said. “I ended up falling on the floor, naked in front of the area coordinator’s fiancé.”

Ironically, Buford has been a RA for Firestine the past two years.

Out of all the involvement at Wittenberg, one of the most influential programs to Buford has been the Emerging Leaders Program.

“It helped me get outside of my comfort zone,” Buford said. “It gave me opportunities to expand my horizon and taught me to not limit my possibilities after Wittenberg.”

Leadership is very important to Buford’s identity, reading at least 15 minutes of a leadership book everyday since freshman year. He believes that great leaders have that in common: continuously reading and education themselves.

Buford is a political science and business management double major, on a pre-law track. However, after graduating, he plans on working in Rockville, Maryland at Kaiser Permanente, his mother’s place of employment. He hopes to work in human resources after his year long graduate fellowship program with the company. Buford’s dream job is becoming a military lawyer after attending law school when it is financially feasible.

Buford says that he will definitely miss Wittenberg, especially “the people.” He says the many close knit relationships he made with everyone is something he will always miss. He plans on coming back to visit the Wittenberg in the future, to cherish the place that he shared with his close friends and his father.

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