A Kansas native, Philip Anschutz was born in 1939 in Russell, but he and his family moved to Hays, then on to Wichita for the remainder of his youth. His mother, who Anschutz says "was a lady of great grace who taught me to always try to do the right thing," had a certificate from a two-year teachers college. Philip Anschutz describes his father, who had no college education, as a man of "enormous entrepreneurial skill who taught me about taking risks and the advantages to be found in failure."
Unfortunately, the family experienced many business failures. His father was plagued with chronic, debilitating illness, which hampered his business ventures as an oil wildcatter. That, coupled with his lack of higher education, deprived Anschutz's father of the skills necessary to develop a financially stable success. When asked about this difficult time, Anschutz says, "In many ways my father was brilliant and intuitive, but the independent oil business is very risky. One day you're succeeding and the next day you aren't. Most people in that business fail at it."
At the age of 14, Anschutz began working. His mother felt it was important that he earn his own money and at the same time gain work experience. "My mother was a strong person," he says. "She had a strong moral grounding. She greatly valued honesty, religious commitment, and the work ethic." During his teen years Anschutz worked in yard service and was a messenger, a grocery sacker, and a bank teller.
Anschutz says he was a mediocre student until he realized that to make positive changes in his life he was going to have to do it himself. "I came to understand that to be successful you have to get off the bench and onto the field. You cannot be just an observer; yo