Residential college dining director departs

Regenia Phillips, Yale Dining’s director of residential dining, stepped down Friday after three years in the post in part to spend more time with her family in Texas.

Phillips has already taken a new job with Aramark, a food services company, as general manager of nutrition services at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. She will maintain an advisory role at Yale until a search committee finds her replacement, which will likely take about four months, according to Jeanette Norton, Yale Dining’s deputy director of finance and administration. Rafi Taherian, executive director of Yale Dining, said Phillips will be remembered for her ability to engage with students and develop initiatives that match their needs.

During her tenure, Phillips extended dining hours in residential colleges, established Yale Farm tours and opened Uncommon, the health-minded convenience store outside of Commons Dining Hall. She also served as Yale Dining saw criticism from some members of the student body, especially as Commons was closed for weekday dinner hours beginning last fall.

“There is a list of things I’ve done, but I don’t think those are as important as just having worked at Yale,” she said. “I loved my job and I loved the people that I worked with, and I will sorely miss that.”

When Phillips came to Connecticut three years ago, Phillips said, her family was not able to move with her. Forced to choose between living with her family and working at Yale, Phillips said she made the decision to depart in November. She said her position at Baylor is similar to her job at Yale but carries “a little bit greater” responsibility.

A search committee, which has not yet been formed, will consider both internal and external candidates, Norton said.

Taherian said he expects the role of director of residential dining will remain largely unchanged, although Yale Dining is reviewing the position as part of a regular procedure following the departure of an administrator.

“We will be looking for the key qualifications [in a successor] that would work for future of Yale Dining,” Taherian said.

Phillips said she particularly enjoyed working with the Yale College Council. YCC Secretary Matt Williams ’13, chair of YCC’s dining committee, said Phillips was “the person [he would] initially reach out to” with ideas and always considered suggestions from the YCC. Most recently, YCC worked with Phillips to extend residential dining hours during Thanksgiving break.

Silliman College chef Dave Santana said he does not anticipate that her absence will affect daily activities in the residential college dining halls.

“She didn’t handle the day to day operations of the units,” he said. “She handled more the human resources side, and had nothing to do with menus.”

Baylor University Medical Center is the largest hospital in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area.

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