Young Alum Supports Three Scholarships on Campus

Philip Tice

By his own admission, Philip Tice was that student in class. The one who always had his hand raised. The one who read the chapter before class, not after. 

“It just felt right,” Tice said. “The campus was homey and had a real small-town feel. I knew it was a place where I could make connections with professors and other students.” 

“I’m a very deliberate person,” said Tice, who graduated from Jax State in 2019 with a finance degree. “When I was in class, I was fully present. I was there to learn the skills I needed to succeed. In that, JSU gave me everything I wanted.” 

Tice wanted to give back to the school that has given him so much, so he’s made a donation to support three scholarships on campus. 

“My parents couldn’t afford to send me to college,” said the first-generation college graduate. “I was given this opportunity, and I want to try and repay that by investing in those who come after me. I can’t control what they do with that opportunity, but I can make sure it’s there.” 

Philip Tice


Tice stipulated that one of the scholarships be named in honor of Alan Renfroe, who retired from JSU as the assistant director of the Office of Alumni Engagement the year Tice graduated. Renfroe advised the Student Alumni Association and Tice served as its president. 

“He was a really good friend and helped me a lot during my time at JSU,” Tice said. “I wanted him to have a legacy.” 

Hunter Turner, a JSU philanthropy officer and former classmate of Tice, said it’s inspiring to see one of her peers give back at such a young age. 

“It's remarkable to witness recent graduates stepping up to support their alma mater so early in their careers, showcasing their appreciation for the education they received and their commitment to giving back to the university that played a pivotal role in shaping their lives,” Turner said. “This dedication is a true testament to the quality of education and the enduring bond forged between alumni and their alma mater.” 

Tice, 27, lives in Dallas, Tex., where he’s a sales professional with Cutco Cutlery, a company he’s worked for since the summer he graduated from Sylacauga High School. 

“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I was good at it, made pretty good money doing it – enough to pay for my housing during the first year of school.” 

Tice received a full scholarship to JSU in 2015, but things could have turned out differently. He almost attended Troy University – he had even gone so far as to register for classes – when he and a friend decided to take a last-minute summer road trip to Jacksonville. As soon as he arrived on campus, he felt at home. 

“It just felt right,” Tice said. “The campus was homey and had a real small-town feel. I knew it was a place where I could make connections with professors and other students.” 

He was active in student life during his four years on campus. In addition to serving as president of the Student Alumni Association, he was a member of the Financial Management Association and a founding member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He even rents an off-campus property to its members, which serves as its unofficial fraternity house. 

“I always wanted to invest in real estate,” he said. “Because it’s basically student housing, there’s a guarantee of tenants, the rent is good. It just made a lot of sense.”

Philip Tice at Graduation

Given his early aspirations, it’s no wonder Tice chose to major in finance at JSU. 

“I wanted something that, no matter what I chose to do after school, would be beneficial for the rest of my life,” he said. “I’d long decided that I’d never work for somebody, I was going to be an entrepreneur. So, with finance, I’d learn how to invest and do the most with my money.” 

Tice takes that same pragmatic approach to donating to his alma mater. 

“We all play a role in something bigger than ourselves,” he said. “We all have a responsibility to help pave the way for the people who come after us. And that’s not just at JSU. That’s everything in life – leave it better than you found it.”