Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives


Newly Endowed Alpha Phi Omega Scholarship Fund Renamed

Alumni aim to double the size of the fund and rename in honor of late alumnus, Wally Pilcher ’95.

Southwestern Alpha Phi Omega-AGK chapter alumnus, Derek Christian ’96 and Becky Christian, APO Zeta chapter alumna, have established an endowed scholarship fund dedicated to scholarships specifically for Alpha Phi Omega students at Southwestern. In recognition of the many meaningful connections sponsored within APO over the years at Southwestern, and of Wally Pilcher’s devotion to the Alpha Gamma Kappa Chapter goals during his tenure both as an RA and friend to many on campus, The Alpha Phi Omega Scholarship has been renamed the “Wally Pilcher ’95 APO Endowed Scholarship.” We invite you to continue to foster APO’s mission of service to humanity just as Wally did.

Many of you may remember Wally’s leadership as he promoted friendships among Chapter members, resolved dorm squabbles and encouraged participation in service works that benefitted diverse causes. Derek Christian ’96 recently recalled his own life-changing experience with Alpha Phi Omega, and with Wally:

“Had I gone to a massive college, I would have blended into the crowd–just a ‘good student’ who no one ever noticed and who never did anything. Instead, I went to a small liberal arts college and Wally Pilcher–who eventually became my APO Big Brother–noticed that I was not really engaged outside of going to class and studying, so he stopped in and encouraged me to accept an invitation I’d received from my RA to go on a grand adventure with APO. A lot of the success I’ve had since in life and work goes back to the day I made the decision to go on that trip to help with cleanup efforts after Hurricane Andrew. I don’t even know why I originally agreed to go anymore, but I remember being surprised when Wally encouraged me to serve. His choice to do so made a huge impact.”   - Derek Christian ’96

Another close friend describes Wally’s character and the lasting legacy epitomized in the decision to rename the scholarship:

“In one’s life you meet all kinds of people. At Southwestern, the vast majority were and are good people, who have character, smarts and wit. Then there are people like my friend Wally: intelligent, empathic, funny, genuine, musical, and most of all, coming to Southwestern with a desire to make a difference in the lives of others. Through APO, he acted on that passion in a meaningful and tangible way, touching people’s hearts with this desire. When he left SU, he continued to serve in his home, his work, his church, and his community. Naming this scholarship in Wally’s memory furthers his passion to serve others. As his friend, I am so pleased that Wally’s memory will live on in the actions of others through their life-long service encouraged at Southwestern and acted upon through APO.”  - Jon Porter ’93

Join APO alumni in honoring Wally’s inclusive, service-oriented mindset by making your own gift to the endowed scholarship fund today. While we’re excited to award our first APO scholarship this fall, your help in reaching our new $50,000 endowment goal will mean two students benefit every year thereafter.

Then, please plan to join us at Homecoming this year (Nov 4-6) to celebrate our success in an act of service that would have made Wally proud.

For your thoughtful, continued service, Wally’s wife thanks all of their Southwestern friends, brothers, and community:

“Having the Alpha Phi Omega scholarship named in Wally’s memory is truly an honor for our family. APO was one of the building blocks for his commitment to volunteerism. He always believed in giving back and leaving the world a little better than he found it. I have loved sharing with our children the stories of college service projects and community outreach that APO made possible for us at SU. I even remember a semester when Wally’s goal was to have the most service hours in the chapter. His passion for service followed him long after graduation and into so many aspects of our life together. I am grateful Wally’s memory is being honored in such a wonderful way, and it brings me joy to know that his legacy will live on through community-minded APO students at Southwestern.”   - Debbie Smith Pilcher ’94