Memorial scholarship GoFundMe made to honor fraternity alum


Photo of Kristian “K.P.” Philpotts submitted and taken by Marla Rice, his mother after he graduated from Illinois State University.

Madelyn Kidd, News Editor

A GoFundMe was started for a memorial scholarship in an Eastern alum’s name after he died in January.

Kristian “KP” Philpotts, an alum who brought back Eastern’s Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. chapter while pursuing his masters here, was killed in January while working as a Lyft driver when three passengers shot and killed Philpotts.

Philpotts mother, Marla Rice has begun a GoFundMe to raise $25,000 to create a memorial scholarship to help students wanting to be a veterinarian like Philpotts was working towards.

“I wanted this scholarship to live on his name also because he was so close to finishing veterinarian school,” Rice said. “He only had less than two years left, so I wanted to create the scholarship to help people that’s trying to become a veterinarian to be able to pay for some of their class with this money or even if it’s just their books, because medical school is very expensive.”

With the $25,000 goal, the memorial Dr. Kristian “KP” Philpotts scholarship will generate money annually to be awarded to a college student wanting to be a veterinarian or work closely with animals.

The reasoning for listing Philpotts name on the scholarship as Dr. Kristian Philpotts is because if he had not been killed, he would have finished his degree and be a doctor, according to Rice.

It was not just Philpotts’ career ambitions that led to Rice wanting to create the scholarship in her son’s name.

“My son was a phenomenal person,” Rice said. “And he was doing so much that he was doing things I didn’t even know about as far as mentoring kids. I didn’t know that he was going and getting pets from the pet store to take to the pre-K kids that they had a pre-K program at Eastern for kids for science. And so he was going to get pets and taking them over to the classroom for the kids. I didn’t know he was doing that. And just a few things that I learned once he passed because he was a humble person. He didn’t like to brag about what he was doing. He was private.”

Philpotts also brought back Eastern’s chapter of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. after he came to Eastern for his masters and found out the fraternity he joined at Illinois State University has had its chapter closed at Eastern since 1994.

Philpotts then began working towards reopening the chapter and was successful in 2021 in bringing his fraternity back to Eastern.

“His fraternity chapter was closed at Eastern University for 27 years,” Rice said. “And he did the research. And he opened up that chapter again… and they were able to bring more fraternity people into the fraternity because he was responsible for reopening that chapter that’s been closed for 27 years. So they already said ‘oh, well, he’s known for this. His name is gonna go down in history.’”

Philpotts also held toy drives yearly for kids in the name of his fraternity.

Although the minimum goal is $25,000 for the GoFundMe, more money will go towards the scholarship and create a larger amount awarded annually with the scholarship.

“So right now, the 25,000 would generate, I was told, between $850 and $1,000 a year, but if there’s more than 25,000, the scholarship will increase,” Rice said. “So my goal is hopefully to try to get a person at least $2,000 annually to put on their school, to put on the books or anything.”

Rice is also personally paying for a memorial bench and paver to be placed at Eastern with Philpotts’ name to keep his memory and what he did for the campus alive.

Rice is also personally paying for a bench and tree at Illinois State University where Philpotts received his bachelor’s and a bench and paver at the University of Illinois where Philpotts was going to receive his doctorate for veterinary science.


Madelyn Kidd can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].