Phil Jones ’99 and Jill Bible ’99: The least likely couple 

Phil Jones ‘99 and Jill Bible ’99 don’t remember having a single class together at Colorado Academy. Yet, somehow, the two alumni became a couple and have been together for more than two decades.  

“We knew each other by being in the same grade, and I always thought Phil was wonderful, but we just weren’t close,” says Bible, who is now Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Studies at Washington College. “If you could go back in time and tell high school Jill and Phil they’d be married, we would have said, ‘No way!’” 

Jones, who attended CA from Sixth to Twelfth Grade, remembers when Bible came to CA in their Sophomore year. 

“I definitely noticed Jill. She was so smart, taking all these AP classes, and she was a really great soccer player,” he says of his future wife. “I was an engaged but not incredible student. Jill was blazing away, and I was functioning in relative obscurity compared to her.” 

In their three years together at CA, they hardly even hung out as friends. Yet, 25 years later, they’re together, living in the small town of Chestertown, Md., with their 5-year-old and 7-year-old children. 

How did that happen?


‘I thought it was going to end in disaster’ 

Jones gives credit for his marriage, at least in part, to his friend and classmate Joshua Shulruff ’99. After CA graduation, Shulruff’s parents moved into the same neighborhood as Bible’s close friends, which brought their social circles together. 

Bible and Jones started hanging out with the same group of friends when they were home from college on breaks. Jones remembers one night when he made Bible laugh by bringing ridiculous hats for the whole group to wear to a party. 

“I’m less fun than I used to be, but I was a fun guy then,” Jones says. “I liked to do goofy things, and Jill got to see that goofy side, and I think she enjoyed my antics. I got to see her goofy side, too—something I hadn’t seen at CA, because you don’t see that when she’s in the classroom, serious and focused, or on the soccer field kicking ass. That lighter side was what sparked my interest in her.” 

They started dating, and by their junior year of college, they were officially together. With Bible at Stanford University in California and Jones at Washington University in St. Louis, they were forced to have a long-distance relationship.  

“The long distance was brutal, horrible!” Jones says. “This was in the time before cell phones with video cameras. We would try to visit each other a lot, and each time we would leave each other, I would be reduced to tears.” 

But they made it through a year and a half, and as soon as they were done with undergrad, they left together on a six-month trip to South America. When they came back to the United States, they moved in together. 

In 2009, they got married.  

“I thought it was going to end in disaster,” Bible says of the long-distance relationship, “but it ended in a marriage, two kids, and a wonderful love story.” 

‘Professional question-asker’ 

While Bible and Jones made their CA memories independently for the most part, they still believe the school played an important role in their relationship.  

“The fact that we reconnected after graduation speaks to the kind of connection and camaraderie that CA fosters,” Bible says. “We both made very close friendships at CA, many of which have persisted ever since.” 

In addition to helping her find a life partner, Bible says CA helped her develop her love of science, which led her to a career in environmental science and marine ecology.  

“I got a really good background in science at CA, especially in biology and hands-on, outdoor experiences,” says Bible, whose current research focuses on the restoration of Chesapeake Bay’s native oysters. “The teachers really engaged us in our learning, and I grew into a very confident learner. I went to college and beyond, feeling empowered to ask questions and follow my curiosity.”  

Bible says this ability to follow her curiosity, which was nurtured at CA, launched her into academia, where, even though she’s an expert in her field, she sees her job as a “professional question-asker.” 

And she loves her job, especially the teaching part. 

“I love doing some of what I was able to experience at CA: taking students out into the field, putting on waders, collecting data, looking for endangered species in the stream,” she says. “That shared excitement and curiosity about the natural world is energizing to me.” 

Jones agrees that learning and curiosity were an integral part of the fabric of CA. 

“It felt like a place where that was a cultural thing, like it was a school of young intellectuals,” says Jones, who is an architect. “We would have interesting conversations about history, art, science, everything.” 

As an architect, Jones loves conversing with colleagues and clients about creative design solutions. He has worked on everything from elementary schools and apartment buildings to hospitals and storage facilities. 

‘The only place I’ve ever felt as comfortable being myself’ 

Today Jones is an architect, and Bible is a scientist. But they didn’t always know exactly who they were or who they’d become. 

As CA students, they remember having the opportunities, freedom, and encouragement to try new experiences.  

“CA was a place that allowed us to be our age and to have great experiential and off-campus learning options like Interim,” says Jones, who remembers a unique Senior project, in which he disassembled and reassembled an old engine. “I really have so many fond memories of students and teachers there. It’s a great school.” 

Bible also loved the Interim program, through which she spent a week learning printmaking with a professional artist in downtown Denver. To this day, she enjoys painting and photography. 

And throughout their exploration and discovery, they felt the support of their CA community. 

“It felt so nurturing and safe,” Jones says. “CA was the only place I’ve ever felt as comfortable being myself.” 

Although they live too far away to send their own kids to CA, Jones and Bible are glad to see their niece—daughter of Jones’s brother David Jones ’95, former Chair of the Board of Trustees—enjoying being a student there. 

“CA is still a special place for our family,” Bible says. “That makes us happy.”