Matthew Whaley grew up in Belmont Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston with his two sisters, Mom and Dad. His mother, Millie was able to stay home with the children and kept involved in the community by working in the school Administrative Offices and Town Recreation as well as volunteering at the local hospital. His father, Mike, a graduate of Bentley College (Waltham, MA) is a CPA who partnered in a local Tax Accounting firm and owns his own business, Concord Oil Company.
Dawn and Leslie both attended school nearby; Dawn attending school in Cambridge (Lesley University) and Boston (Wheelock College) and is currently an Educational Consultant and works mainly on school accreditation. Leslie went a bit further to Dudley (Nichols College) and works in the Healthcare Industry in Reporting and Advanced Analytics; both sisters love to travel for work and pleasure.
The Whaley family now lives in Carlisle, Massachusetts. "We all live within three miles of each other so it will be no surprise when I say we are a close knit bunch. Matthew was the youngest child, and the first to go out of state to attend college. Needless to say Matt had wings- he went to a big, far away school leaving the familiar on a quest for adventure. By then the sisters were off at school, out on their own, so so my parents were used to a quieter house but never so quite as when Matt left and boy did we missed having Matt around."
We visited Matt whenever possible, especially during U of A parents & homecoming weekends; enjoyed the football games and parades, and meeting Matt’s friends. It became obvious Matt did two smart things as a college freshman so far away from home; he made local friends that invited him to Thanksgiving dinners, and, joined a fraternity. He joined not just a fraternity, but the best one on campus (!) Kappa Sigma. He now had a home away from home, and brothers for life".
Matthew lived on campus, in the Fraternity house and then off campus as an upperclassman. He was involved with fraternity activities and was always there to help a brother out – be that pay for someone who was broke or be the designated driver, anything to make sure everyone who wanted to be involved was involved. Although he remained close to everyone at the Fraternity House, we, as a family, believe that had he continued to live in the House he may still be with us now. We feel that someone would have noticed something, or not left Matt alone...
We were so impressed with Matt’s brothers. For the funeral a number of them flew to Massachusetts, found lodging with other Kappa Sigma’s at MIT, were the pall bearers for Matt [buried their pledge pins with him], and came back to my parents’ house and helped us celebrate Matt’s life.
And that is how the scholarship idea began.
My brother had some money invested in stocks. My Dad always said, “You can’t go wrong with rubber and alcohol”. I think Matt invested in Phillip Morris instead, but with good results. My parents decided to use some of Matt’s money to start a scholarship specifically for Gamma-Rho to cover room and board for a semester in the Chapter House. We hoped to foster relationships where brothers can be there for each other and treat one another like family, To create a legacy for Matt, a way remember though he was gone from us, To help the young men of Gamma-Rho in time of need as Matt’s Brothers helped us in ours.
We liked the fact that brotherhood is so important to Kappa Sig and decided to use that as a means to choose the winner of the scholarship. We write a different, but similar question each year for applicants to answer related to the importance of brotherhood. We really want to see the young men dig deep and examine the gift they have been given within the fraternity and share that with us, not only to win the scholarship, but to help them have a better understanding as well.
Over the years we have gotten some excellent responses, along with haphazardly thrown together essays that Leslie’s son (who is 10) could have written better! As an educator, I have to say, “grammar counts”. We encourage all eligible Brothers to apply. As a family we all read the essays. My son, Stephen (22), has also begun to weigh in. He and his siblings, along with my niece and nephew will continue to support the scholarship as time goes on.
For the past 20 years my sister and I have only missed a couple of banquets. It is our pleasure to award the Whaley scholarship, and are pleased to do so each year. Through this scholarship our hopes have become a reality. This award is truly a dedication to my Father and his Son, Mike Whaley, who started this scholarship in recognition of his son, Matthew.
We recognize them both as the true Men of the Year. It is our honor to be thanked in such a wonderful manner by Matt’s brothers of Gamma-Rho.
With great appreciation, on behalf of the Whaley Family, Thank you, Dawn (Whaley) Petitpas & Leslie (Whaley) Bailey