Joseph C. Phillips Joins Clark Atlanta University’s Faculty


ATLANTA, GA (October 7, 2022) – Clark Atlanta University (CAU) has announced that actor, author, columnist, commentator, and sought-after speaker Joseph C. Phillips has joined the University as a professor in Theatre and Communication Studies.  

Phillips-Headshot.jpg“Joseph brings a wealth of awe-inspiring talent, meaningful engagement in the community, and a portfolio of informed, decisive commentary to the University,” said President Dr. George T. French Jr. “We anticipate that he will inspire independent thinking, civic responsibility, and a passion for interdisciplinary learning in our students—which aligns perfectly with our mantra to “lift our community by lifting our voices.” 

Phillips received the BFA in acting in 1983 from the acting conservatory at New York University after transferring from the University of the Pacific as a communications major. He has served as a fellow at the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian College; the Abraham Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute; and the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, where he designed, wrote the curriculum, and taught a seven-week course titled “Black Conservatism in America.”   

A prolific actor perhaps best known for his role as Lt. Martin Kendall (the husband of Lisa Bonet’s character) on the hit series “The Cosby Show,” Phillips played Col. Greg Davis in four seasons of the Netflix award-winning series “13 Reasons Why,” which concluded in 2020. He is a three-time NAACP Image Award nominee for his portrayal of Attorney Justus Ward on “General Hospital” and has had guest starring roles on several television dramas, including “How to Get Away with Murder,” “NCIS” and “Good Trouble.”


His feature film credits include starring roles in “Strictly Business,” “Let’s Talk About Sex,” and “Midnight Blue.” Among his theatrical credits are starring roles in the Broadway production of “Six Degrees of Separation” and the Kennedy Center and American Playhouse productions of “A Raisin in the Sun.” He created the title role in “Dreaming Emmett,” Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison’s only theatrical play.  

Phillips is the author of “He Talk Like a White Boy” and for eight years, wrote a widely syndicated weekly column titled “The Way I See It” that promoted conservative views such as traditional family, limited government, and a return to America's founding principles. He was also a regular commentator for NPR and American Urban Radio Network. 

For ten years, he served as a director on the State Board of the California African American Museum, where he chaired the accessions committee, which was responsible for approving all art or artifacts for the museum’s collection.   

On Phillips’s extensive roster of civic engagements are his work as a motivational speaker with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s “VIDA” program designed to redirect the lives of at-risk youth; the Special Olympics, and The Green Chimneys Foundation, of which he was an advisory board member; The Red Cross; Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles; the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America; the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission; and Project Alpha, a partnership of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and the March of Dimes designed to address teenage pregnancy, sexual and physical abuse, and sexually transmitted disease.  

About Clark Atlanta University  

Established by the historic consolidation of Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869), Clark Atlanta University was established in 1988, now continuing a nearly 160-year legacy rooted in African American tradition and focused on the future.  Through global innovation, transformative educational experiences, and high-value engagement.  CAU cultivates lifted lives that transform the world.  Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson; American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter (Lift Every Voice and Sing "The Black National Anthem"), Ralph David Abernathy Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy.  To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit