October 4, 2023

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Mom finalizes endowed Illinois State scholarship in reminiscence of son | Schooling

NORMAL — Pre-veterinary college students at Illinois State College can quickly obtain a brand new scholarship because of a fundraising marketing campaign led by the mom of a former scholar.

Marla Rice named the Dr. Kristian “KP” Philpotts Memorial Scholarship after her son. Although Philpotts had not completed his training on the time of his loss of life, Rice is together with the “Dr.” to acknowledge the veterinarian she is aware of he would have turn out to be. Philpotts was shot and killed in January throughout an obvious theft whereas driving for Lyft in Champaign-Urbana. He was 29. 

“He was simply attempting to turn out to be that physician, as a result of I do know if his life hadn’t been lower brief he would have been that physician,” Rice mentioned.

Rice raised greater than $25,000 by a GoFundMe to honor her son. She thanks everybody who donated and unfold the information of the fundraiser.

Three youngsters have since been arrested in Philpotts’ loss of life and have been charged as adults in Champaign County, with 4 expenses of homicide every, on-line court docket data present.

Philpotts had a bachelor’s diploma from ISU and a grasp’s diploma from Japanese Illinois College. He had deliberate to go on to earn a doctorate from the College of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

At EIU he helped restart the chapter of Iota Phi Theta. He launched EIU undergraduate and pal Dewayne Jones to the fraternity, and was a mentor for Jones all through his time at EIU.

“He really acquired me into the music facet of issues, he acquired me DJing at occasions,” Jones mentioned.


Kristian Philpotts poses in his cap and robe when graduating from Illinois State College in 2016. 

He described Philpotts as a pacesetter on campus, who was all the time ensuring his mates had been learning and specializing in their lecturers.

Philpotts’ professor and the Iota Phi Theta adviser Gary Bulla agreed. He shared a letter of assist he wrote for Philpotts’ utility to veterinary college. He highlighted a program referred to as “Children for Science” that Philpotts began to deliver elementary college students to campus to study science, together with animal science. 

“KP brings a excessive degree of enthusiasm, engagement, and community-mindedness hardly ever seen in people,” he wrote. 

Jones goes into his final yr at EIU, as a digital media and graphic design main. He is also now the president of EIU’s Iota Phi Theta chapter. Whereas Jones feels he has huge footwear to fill, he additionally appreciates that Philpotts inspired individuals to be themselves. It was that broad combine of individuals with completely different pursuits and personalities that drew Jones to Iota Phi Theta within the first place, he mentioned.

Rice began the GoFundMe web page in April. Endowed scholarships at ISU want at the least $25,000 to make sure there might be sufficient funding cash to maintain the scholarship going completely. The fundraiser reached that aim earlier this month and Rice signed the papers July 17, which might have been Philpotts’ thirtieth birthday.

“It was very emotional, as a result of it’s been an extended street,” Rice mentioned.

One nameless donor gave $10,000, which Rice mentioned meant quite a bit as a result of it confirmed that individuals cared about her son’s story. 

All through the method, she labored with Toni Burningham, director of growth for the School of Utilized Science and Expertise.

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This picture from 2015 exhibits Kristian Philpotts, left, with different college students concerned within the Scholar Pre-Veterinarian Affiliation at Illinois State College. They had been in a position to observe two tigers receiving minor surgical procedure. In a Fb submit from ISU, Philpotts referred to as it top-of-the-line experiences of his life. 

“We’re very grateful to have such a beautiful scholarship in honor of her son,” Burningham mentioned.

Together with the scholarship, Rice is working with EIU and ISU to position memorial benches on their campuses. The cash for the memorials is coming from her, she mentioned, not from the GoFundMe. Proper now, she is ready on the plaque for the bench at ISU, and for brand spanking new benches to reach at EIU.

Rice can be asking for signatures on a petition for UIUC to offer her son an honorary doctorate. Whereas the varsity usually provides these awards to individuals who have reached the tip of a major profession, that’s inconceivable for her son, Rice mentioned. The college has provided a Certificates of Achievement for Philpotts. 

“He didn’t have an opportunity to achieve the tip of his profession; he didn’t have an opportunity to begin his profession,” she mentioned.

The Dr. Kristian “KP” Philpotts Memorial Scholarship requires a school GPA of two.8 and an essay on why you will need to create a extra various workforce within the veterinary and animal science subject. It’s open to pre-vet college students who might be juniors or seniors and who display a monetary want. Burningham expects it would open for purposes subsequent yr. 

Those that need can nonetheless contribute to the scholarship fund, as it would stay completely open.

“It’s a legacy, it by no means goes away,” Burningham mentioned.

The scholarship preserves Philpotts’ legacy at ISU for the longer term, Rice mentioned.

“His title goes to stay on ceaselessly,” she mentioned.

Contact Connor Wooden at (309)820-3240. Observe Connor on Twitter:@connorkwood