AB, Washington and Lee University, 1938. Doctor of Laws, Washington and Lee University, 1966. Doctor of Philosophy, Yale University, 1947.
Doctor of Divinity, Stetson University, 1960. Doctor of Laws, University Florida, 1969. Doctor of Laws, University Alabama, 1970.
Doctor of Humanities, Samford University, 1978. Doctor of Humanities, Montevallo University, 1980. Doctor of Humanities, Auburn University, 1981.
He served as a chaplain in the United States Navy during World War II. In 1947, Philpott received a PhD from Yale University in religion and higher education. From 1947 to 1952, he taught at the University of Florida, and from 1952 to 1957 he served as Dean of religious life at Stephens College. In addition, Philpott was also the Vice-President of the University of Florida from 1957 to 1965, but is most known for serving as the President of Auburn University from 1965 until 1980.
Member Regional Education Board, 1966-1982, vice chairman, 1973-1975. Chairman Alabama Education Study Commission, 1967-1969. President Southeastern Conference, 1972-1974.
Served to 1st lieutenant Chaplains Corps., United States Naval Reserve, 1943-1946. Member National Association State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (chairman council presidents 1972-1973, executive committee 1973-1978, president 1976-1977), Florida Blue Key, Kappa Alpha, Omicron Delta Kappa, Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Beta Kappa.
Married Pauline Breck Moran, September 15, 1943. Children: Harry Melvin, Jean Todd, Benjamin Cabell II, Virginia Lee.