Memorial scholarship honoring Eastern alum approaches goal


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

Rob Le Cates, Editor-in-Chief

A GoFundMe scholarship, started in April and named after an Eastern alum who died in January, is within $3,000 of its goal. 

Kristian “KP” Philpotts, an alum who brought back Eastern’s Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. chapter after it closed in 1994, came to Eastern to pursue his master’s in veterinary sciences. While working as a Lyft driver he was shot and killed by three passengers.

A minimum of $25,000 needs to be in place to create the memorial scholarship.

The scholarship was created to help students, like Philpotts, who had wanted to be a veterinarian.

Marla Rice, Philpotts’ mother, said the donations started slowly with a few big financial gifts peppered throughout May.

“He was a people person, and that’s why I’m doing this because this would help someone do what he was trying to do,” Rice said. “If it pays for their clinicals, if it will pay for their books – at least this is helping them.”

The scholarship will be offered at Illinois State University through the Agricultural Department with a reward of around $850 to $1,000 per year. Rice hopes to get the total amount to at least $2,000 annually.

She is in the process of constructing memorials at several public universities: a bench and tree at Illinois State University and a bench and paver at Eastern.

During his time at Eastern, Philpotts held multiple toy drives through Iota Phi Theta and brought animals from a shelter to educate preschoolers on veterinary science.

Currently, Rice is seeking an honorary doctorate degree for her son from University of Illinois, a university he had wanted to attend.

Rob Le Cates is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].