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Leaving a Legacy

RSM US Foundation joins family and friends of the late Peter Wilson to establish the RSM Peter S. Wilson Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship for accounting students

By: Caroline Barnhill

When searching for a single word to describe her late father, NC State graduate Bonnie Wilson finds that she always lands on the same one – integrity. 

“My dad was the definition of a good man. He was somebody that always wanted to do the right thing and was very intentional,” Bonnie Wilson says. “He put a lot of thought into how he did everything – how he raised me and my siblings and even how he disciplined us. Looking back, I see that everything he did was fair. He was a man that lived with integrity.”

Peter Wilson, a former RSM partner, passed away unexpectedly in January 2021. Prior to his passing, Peter Wilson and his wife Trish, parents of three, including two NC State alumni, had plans to create a scholarship at Poole College of Management to help economically disadvantaged, underrepresented minority students studying accounting by providing scholarships for the last two years of their education. 

In addition to discussing his plans with colleague and Poole College accounting alumnus Charles Britt (‘01, ‘02 MAC), Peter Wilson also contacted the RSM US Foundation in an effort to connect with NC State alumni across the firm in hopes of finding additional funding to support even more students through RSM’s University Giving program

“This scholarship was something Pete was very passionate about. It combined a lot of things that were important to him – accounting, stewardship, diversity and inclusion,” says Britt, tax partner, RSM. “In fact, the last time I spoke with Pete in early January, we were discussing how to move this plan forward. While I didn’t know that would be the last conversation we’d have, I am thankful that we were able to see his plan come to fruition.”

My dad was the definition of a good man. He was somebody that always wanted to do the right thing and was very intentional

While Peter Wilson’s colleagues were aware of his desire to establish this scholarship, in his humility, he didn’t share all of the monetary details with his children.

“My dad was never one to talk much about his own accomplishments or plans. He was very humble in that way. But I can tell you this – he was very passionate about helping others and he didn’t stand for injustice,” says Bonnie Wilson. “This past year, the issue of racial inequity really affected him. He wanted to help and give back to the community in a way that meant something to him. He loved NC State and he was a CPA – so he figured out his niche. With this scholarship, he wanted to give others the opportunity they otherwise wouldn’t have.”

So with a matching gift of $75,000 from the RSM US Foundation, donations from family, friends and colleagues of Peter Wilson will carry forth the legacy Peter Wilson began – establishing the RSM Peter S. Wilson Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship. The $150,000 endowment will support Poole College students majoring in accounting who have completed two years of undergraduate studies. Students must be in good academic standing, as determined by the NC State Department of Accounting, and will be selected using the university’s normal protocols for awarding merit scholarships.

The Wilson Family

“We are thrilled that RSM and Peter’s family, friends and colleagues are honoring the Wilsons’ vision to help underrepresented minority accounting students,” says Kathy Krawczyk, Dixon Hughes Goodman Professor of Accounting and head of Poole College’s Department of Accounting. “The RSM Peter S. Wilson Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship is a life-changing opportunity for diverse undergraduate accounting students who might otherwise not be able to take full advantage of all of the experiences available during their time at NC State. We look forward to working with these scholarship recipients and watching them graduate and enter the accounting profession and business world.”

“This gift is a remarkable demonstration of support to Poole College and its mission,” adds Brian Clark, Poole College’s executive director of development and external relations. “We’re proud to honor the life and legacy of Mr. Wilson and his passion for impacting our Department of Accounting.”

In reflecting on the potential impact of this gift, Bonnie Wilson feels that same sense of pride she’s always had for her father.

“Everything my dad did was selfless. He was never thinking about himself, and he  always wanted to be there to help others in any way he could. He always taught me and my siblings to recognize the gifts and the resources we’ve been given – that they really are things that have been given to us,” Bonnie Wilson says. “He taught us that it’s our job to use those resources to serve and support others. My family is excited to see how this fund will help students in the future.”