Born in Iowa, Waite Phillips was a Tulsa oil baron, banker, real estate developer and rancher. He was also a philanthropist for both local Tulsa institutions and national causes. (It has been said that Phillips enjoyed the hunt for money more than the possession of it.)
In Tulsa, Phillips is perhaps most famous for his gift of Villa Philbrook, the 72-room Italian Renaissance-style mansion and surrounding 23 acres of grounds he donated to the city of Tulsa in 1938. The vision first made possible by Waite and his wife, Genevieve, is now one of America's finest art museums. The integrity of the original residence remains intact while later additions to the facility and gardens complete the attraction.
In 1943, Phillips was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.