Fraternity mourns, celebrates influential brother

Corryn Brock, Editor-in-Chief

Iota Phi Theta, Fraternity Inc. honored Kristian Philpotts, an Eastern graduate who was shot and killed on Jan. 12 in Urbana with a balloon release Saturday. Philpotts was an influential member of the fraternity and helped to revive Eastern’s chapter after it closed in 1994.

Ian Davis, the fraternity’s vice president and senior exercise science major, said Philpotts was essential to the chapter’s revival.

“KP was the reason for the revival of our chapter Beta Gamma of Iota Phi Theta,” Davis said. “For years he was on EIU campus promoting Iota by himself before he was able to bring new members in (to) revive the chapter in 2021 after being closed since 1994.”

Davis described Philpotts as humble and self-motivated.

“He had so much love for our fraternity he did everything he could to make sure our org continued to grow,” Davis said. “I think the most important thing people should know is that he was a motivated individual that was working toward a doctorate degree while, at the same time, doing his part to continue to grow his organization. A lot of people that knew him on campus knew that he loved his org and would always rep it wherever he went.”

Dj Jones, a senior digital media and graphic design major, and member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., shares memories of Kristian Philpotts and gets ready to release balloons in honor of him on Saturday afternoon. (ASHANTI THOMAS | THE DAILY EASTERN NEWS)

Iota Phi Theta President D.J. Jones, a senior digital media and graphic design major said Philpotts was a mentor to him.

“As far as Iota goes, we’re going to keep the legacy alive for him and for everyone who touched his heart,” Jones said.

University President David Glassman attended the release and shared how he knew Philpotts.

Glassman said Philpotts asked to meet with him when he was attending Eastern to discuss bringing Iota Phi Theta back to Eastern.

Glassman shared that Philpotts told him he wanted to be a role model for other Black men at Eastern.

“The guy was about everybody, he wasn’t about himself,” Glassman said. “… I love that guy. He had such charisma and it was all about everyone else. And it was about making African Americans be proud and stand up and show that they got love for others. He was a cool guy.”

Glassman said he missed Philpotts.

“When he graduated I wished him the best and I just can’t believe the tragedy of life but listening to all you guys and everybody being out here today, that’s special,” Glassman said. “He touched your lives, your fraternity and everything else. He made a big impact on me and that’s why I’m here to celebrate him and his life today.”

Kyreon Williams, a senior interdisciplinary health science major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, hugs a fellow member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Incorporated during the balloon release in honor of Kristian Philpotts Saturday afternoon. (ASHANTI THOMAS | THE DAILY EASTERN NEWS)

Members of other National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations were in attendance and shared their condolences with the fraternity.

Raven Ramsey, a senior construction management major and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., shared what she hopes will come from the tragedy.

“It only, I would think, push us even further to keep doing the best that we can, keep on striving to be the best that we can,” Ramsey said. “I just want to encourage you guys to keep pushing forward, keeping his legacy alive and in general, do the best that we can.”

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]