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Virgil Boucher Images

Are You a District 150 Graduate?

The following need-based award is accorded to qualified Peoria's District 150 graduates and is a uniquely separate  scholarship from Sigma Phi Epsilon's scholarships.

The Virgil S. Boucher '32 Scholarship Application is accorded through scholarship funds established at Monmouth College for male and female students and administered by the Financial Aid Office of the college.

Receiving the Virgil S. Boucher '32 Scholarship is a wonderful honor for any student. The scholarship description and application deadline is provided through this link:

Application

We share in applauding his desire to help students further their education by attending Monmouth College. Good luck ladies and men. 

Virgil Boucher, as a graduate of Monmouth College, remains in our hearts as a distinguished alumnus of our fraternity.

Virgil's commitment and legacy

Former MC football great  Virgil "Tige" Boucher '32 died Aug. 8, 2007, in Peoria, Ill., a little more than two months after he had received the last of his many personal, professional and civic honors, the Monmouth College''s Distinguished Service Award.

Boucher, who was 97, attended the Alumni Weekend awards ceremony in June 2007, and was represented at the podium by Bob Sulaski, one of his former players at Peoria's Woodruff High School shared the following:

"Monmouth College is behind many of the blessings in his life," said Sulaski, who noted that several individuals traveled from around the state to be with the "highly esteemed" Boucher on his special day.

That was also the case both times that Boucher hosted reunions of his former Woodruff players. The 2001 event drew more than 150 WHS football lettermen from 23 states, many saying they wouldn't have missed it for the world.

"I owe my success to the boys, and I want them to know I appreciate it," Boucher told the Peoria Journal-Star at the time. "I love them all."

Virgil Boucher knew a life spent learning was a life worth living, and devoted his days to making a difference to others. He was a remarkable man, intelligent and inspired, and so full of character and compassion. Virgil was a loving husband, brother, cousin and friend, but more than anything, he was a dedicated teacher, coach, and advocate, who made a difference to the lives he touched along the way.

After surviving a devastating tornado as a young boy that destroyed his school and nearly killed him, Virgil Boucher, born October 25, 1909, went on to graduate from Murphysboro High School in 1928. Virgil then boarded a train for Monmouth College, where he excelled as a student athlete. 

The Hall-of-Famer was at home on the football field, helping the Fighting Scots to an undefeated season in 1931. In a 26-12 victory that season over North Central, teammate and fraternity brother, Leino "Moose" Corgnati sprang loose for a 72-yard score. Said Boucher, "I'll never forget that play because I did a brush block and left my assignment to lead Moose down the field. I took out the safety to finish the play off. That was my pride and joy."

The media took notice of Boucher's dominating play, with an account of another game that season stating that he was "smearing Coe's offensive plays before they even got started." Boucher earned first team all-star honors from both the Associated Press and United Press following the season. Monmouth was heralded as the only undefeated team in the state and was the champion of the Little 19 and Midwest conferences. From Monmouth, he earned Master of Arts degrees from both the University of Iowa and Bradley University.

After graduating from Monmouth, Boucher served as a coach in the tiny western Illinois communities of Seaton and Media. In 1942, he was asked to teach at the new Woodruff facility. Four years later, he assumed control of the football team, and by the mid-1950s, Boucher had built a powerhouse, which included an undefeated team in 1955. That squad, which outscored its foes 285-7, played in the midst of a six-year stretch that saw the Warriors go 49-6-5. Today, the practice football field at Woodruff is named in Boucher's honor.

In addition to his commitment to Woodruff High School, Virgil has been a valued contributor to the Monmouth College community since graduating in 1932. "Monmouth College is behind many of the blessings in his life," said Bob Sulaski, one of his former players at Peoria's Woodruff High.

Off the field, Boucher was a member of the  of Theta Upsilon Omega fraternity, Zeta Beta chapter, which later merged with Sigma Phi Epsilon. He remained active with the SigEps until the time of his death, serving on their alumni board where he endowed two scholarships to promote the Balanced Man Ideal of Sigma Phi Epsilon for Monmouth freshmen and funding attendance for leadership conferences and development through Sigma Phi Epsilon National Headquarters for this chapter. Virgil further assisted the chapter each spring by funding a recognition dinner for SigEps recognizing their academic excellence and fraternal accomplishments.

"I grew up knowing Mr. Boucher as members of the same church in Peoria," said Bill Turner '93. "Our relationship magnified quickly once he learned that not only was I attending Monmouth, but I had also joined SigEp. Over the years, I have witnessed Virgil acquire and embrace an extended family both through the fraternity and the college community. He found particular enjoyment following the lives of his fellow Sig Eps, the accomplishments of the many Woodruff High School graduates he ushered to campus and the victories of the Scots football team. Virgil especially enjoyed the victories over Knox."

That giving spirit was on display throughout his life. Following his retirement as a teacher and coach, Boucher became so actively involved in the Heart Association, the Retired Teachers Association and Kiwanis that he received the Tom Connor Award, which is presented annually to Peoria's outstanding volunteer. He also was generous to his alma mater, as his six-figure gift helped created the attractive Boucher Plaza entrance to Bobby Woll Memorial Field.

On the evening of November 9, 1998, Matt Schaub, undergraduate president; Dick Johnston, chapter counselor; Tavis Moore, undergraduate; and alumnus Stephen Ehrhart traveled to Peoria for a visit with Brother Boucher. Following a wonderful dinner and  sharing, Virgil presented a gift of $5,000 for the creation of the Boucher Balanced Man Scholarship Award, the second of two scholarships now in place at Illinois Gamma to advance the ideal of brotherhood. Virgil's request was, "The award shall be a supplement to the educational costs men may require to attend Monmouth College."

Boucher personally endowed a separate scholarship (noted to the right) to enable students from the former school district where Woodruff High School was located to attend Monmouth. When picking his own college back in 1928, he was similarly influenced by his high school math teacher and football coach, 1921 MC graduate J.O. Firth. Once he arrived on campus, football coach Herb Hart and mathematics professor Alice Winbigler were his mentors.

"I just felt that I wanted to pay back what I've received," said Boucher at the time. The plaza was named in honor of his son-in-law and daughter, the late Joseph and Judy Boucher Chamberlain.

Virgil contributions weren't always made up of grand gestures. He made a difference in the daily lives of countless young people over the years, through his long and dedicated teaching career. He made a difference at his church, always praising what he enjoyed, and offering suggestions on what could be improved.

Virgil Boucher's enthusium could be seen Friday nights in the stands of Woodruff's home football games, and on Saturday afternoons, he could be spotted on the North hill at the base of SigEp House overlooking Bobby Woll Memorial Field watching his Monmouth College Fighting Scots.

"I've always been thankful to Monmouth College," recalling his goal as a teenager his goal was "to get off the farm." Boucher added, "they took me as a pretty green country boy, and I learned a lot." 

Virgil was a remarkable man, who lived a remarkable life, a life devoted to learning, to teaching, and to helping. Today his lessons, and his life, lives on in all who knew him. He left a legacy to many. Virgil was doing things behind the scenes which helped brothers who were experiencing financial difficulties' to aid them with their house bills to tuition payments.

When one remembers Virgil it is easy to better know the core principals of Virtue, Diligence, and Brotherly Love of Sigma Phi Epsilon which Virgil exemplified on a daily basis in service to others. Illinois Gamma lost a loyal brother and gained a marvelous legacy to advance the chapter's operations and accord scholarships and leadership experiences for these young men.  Virgil is with us always, along the sidelines of life. We are forever appreciative of his gifts of time, talents, and treasures.