Author Archives: sigmanuhq

Bookshelf

Kentucky Fried Fiction

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Author: Andrew January Grundy III (Murray State)
ISBN: 978-1-4507-6328-8
Publisher: Andrew January Grundy III

Andrew January Grundy III is a 59-year-old free-lance photojournalist living with his family on a farm in central Kentucky. This book is a collection of his written work dating from 1970 to the present. In it he explains how he became a subliminal fixture of the media after a life-changing night in 1973.

He is currently involved in several twelve-step groups and is an affiliate of the national mental health movement. His major “bragging right” is his extensive vinyl rock-n-roll album collection. He owns well over a thousand records. “I guess I have about the best rock music collection this side of the Mississippi River,” he notes.

Reprinted from back cover.

Shannon’s Gift: A Story of Love, Loss, and Recovery

Shannons Gift

Author: Nate Bennett (Tulane)
ASIN: B00KYAGHSA
Publisher: BookLogix

In this raw, emotional memoir, Nate Bennett uses a blog to work through his grief over the sudden loss of his wife Shannon. He is surprised and comforted to discover a vast virtual community of support. His blog posts – alternately poignant and of dry wit – eventually attracted tens of thousands of hits and a following from readers who hadn’t even known the couple or their sons. This unique book gives the reader a window into the starkness of a widower’s grieving experience in real time. What comes through in virtually every post is his love for Shannon as he weaves in vignettes from their life together, chronicling their love story and his efforts to recover. And in the end, with the support of his virtual community and the strength he was able to draw from remembering Shannon’s wishes for him, he finds love again.

Reprinted from Amazon.com.

My Cancer Diary

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Author: Robert Keiber (East Carolina)
ISBN: 9-780615-792149
Publisher: The Tuxedo Group

The purpose of this diary/datebook is to keep the patient involved in their recovery by greeting them each day with an encouraging quote and then helping them make notes of the vital information their doctor might need for each visit. Notes would include prescriptions, dosage, last CAT or PET scan, MRI, ex-ray, chemo or surgery. It also includes a place for things to do, appointments and questions the patient might want to ask their doctor. There is a space for daily thoughts and each day ends with a suggested meditation the patient might practice. As their health improves this journal will be a reminder of the patient’s powerful spirit and mind as well a guide for others who might have to take on the same journey.

Reprinted from Amazon.com.

Mountain Boy

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Author:  Paul J.B. Murphy Jr. (Washington and Lee)
ISBN: 9-781930-119109
Publisher: Publishing Connections

In Mountain Boy, Murphy draws upon his intimate knowledge of Virginia’s history and topography. He tells the story of Jamie Nicholson, a teenaged boy born and reared in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, who becomes caught up in the government’s forced relocation of mountain families to create a national park. Written in a style that brings the reader into Jamie’s daily life, it evokes a visceral attachment to the young man as he grapples with making his way in a new culture and determination to succeed. Jamie’s story is a testament to self-reliance, the indomitable spirit of youth, and a celebration of a young man’s relationship with the one adult who cares enough to mentor him.

Reprinted from cover.

My Uncle Pat

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Author:  Charles Pitcher (Mississippi)
ISBN: 978-1499554168
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

My Uncle Pat lived a rather unique and mostly bizarre life. If you found yourself in his company, you were soon attracted by his charismatic personality. He was an interesting man because of his rather different approach to all that life presented him. He was an attractive, likable misfit. This man could make you laugh and become angry, all at the same time. He was a dreamer and a schemer. When the good Lord made him, He threw the mold away. I’ve never known another like him. Perhaps his family and his heritage contributed to his uniqueness. He was born to a Mother and Father who had strong French and Irish roots. His Mother, Edna Gautier, was ahead of her time. She was a liberated woman, with business sense, a wanderlust and ample ambition to achieve her goals in life. His Father, Thomas Ross Murphy, began his adult life as a clerk in a local clothing store and because of his intelligence, ambition and drive, soon owned the store. My Uncle Pat had all these traits, but he managed to often misapply them with disastrous results. He was a comical and very peculiar man, and I loved him. I’ll do my best as a writer to relate to you all that I can remember, concerning his character, his personality and the many and varied funny situations and grandiose schemes he created for himself to deal with, in a manner that only he could envision. The totality of his life is worth the read simply because he was one of a kind and he lived his life outside the box, with great enthusiasm I might add.

Reprinted from Amazon.com.

Chapter and Alumni News

Riley Society

Some of Riley Society’s founding members, from left to right: Cameron French (MIT), Tyler Elvin (West Virginia), Joe Gammie (Georgia Tech), Jack Riker (Duke).

The idea for Riley Society began when a group of Collegiate Grand Councilmen started discussing ways to help prepare young alumni to take on future leadership positions. Tyler Elvin (West Virginia) and Joe Gammie (Georgia Tech) were reflecting on their experience with the High Council while attending the College of Chapters in Roanoke, Va. While reflecting on the relationships that they had built over the past year, they began discussing how they could continue to ensure that strong relationships were being built between Collegiate Grand Councilmen (CGC) and other young alumni. They wanted to make sure CGCs of all ages had an avenue to stay connected on a meaningful level.

Tyler and Joe began constructing the vision of an organization that would connect CGCs from multiple years and create a pool of young talent to support the mission of the General Fraternity and Educational Foundation. They discussed their ideas with fellow CGCs Wells Ellenberg (Georgia), Matt Tudor (Eastern Kentucky), Jack Riker (Duke), and Cameron French (MIT) and High Council members John Hearn (Georgia) and Maury Gaston (Auburn).

Upon leaving Roanoke, Tyler and Joe continued to discuss the idea and shared it with fellow Collegiate Grand Councilman Tom Bymark (Minnesota). Tom was very interested in the idea and began to help create the outline of the program that would become the Riley Society.

“We like to think of the Riley Society as a grassroots program where we can build young, strong, and proven leaders for future leadership positions while cultivating relationships and educating through the years.”

The three founding members collaborated and executed an outline complete with a mission statement, objectives, benefits, and structure. After the foundation was in place, the team pitched the idea to members of the staff team while in Nashville for the 66th Grand Chapter. Staff members offered input that would refine the program to align with the fraternity’s strategic imperatives related to young alumni initiatives. Multiple conference calls were held to discuss details before the Riley Society was approved by the High Council in September 2014.

With an idea in mind and an ambition to make a difference, Tyler and Joe proceeded with a plan. They eventually settled on three objectives:

  1. To establish a permanent medium of connection between alumni committed to service, development, and leadership in the Fraternity.
  2. To sustain and strengthen Society members’ connection with and commitment to the Fraternity and its founding principles.
  3. To support the achievement of the Fraternity’s and Foundation’s strategic goals and imperatives.

The founders of the initiative intend to provide an experience that expands members’ professional network, builds their professional soft skills, provides an avenue for career mentoring, focuses on giving back to the fraternity, and builds strong relationships.

“We envision the Riley Society as a large, prestigious group of young alumni who are actively involved in furthering the mission of the Fraternity and Educational Foundation through service and leadership,” Gammie says. “Overall, we want to see our members become more developed professionals, hoping that this opportunity will make both the fraternity and the young alumni more successful.”

Riley Society is open to any initiated brother who is not on the roster of any collegiate chapter; is a current donor to the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation; agrees to receive communications from Riley Society, the Fraternity, and the Foundation; and commits to volunteer with one Sigma Nu alumni event or Helping Hand Initiative event every year.

“We like to think of the Riley Society as a grassroots program where we can build young, strong, and proven leaders for future leadership positions while cultivating relationships and educating through the years.”

Alabama in Huntsville

Brother Austin Finley has been elected student government (SGA) president. Finley currently serves as Mu Beta’s Chaplain and is on the IFC executive board. Nine other brothers were elected to the SGA as well.

At the 66th Grand Chapter in Nashville, Mu Beta received Sigma Nu’s prestigious Most Improved Chapter award, which only one other chapter received. The chapter also received Excellence in Values-Based Leadership and Operational Excellence.

On November 15, the chapter raised $3,467 for the Wounded Warrior Project in its annual Wounded Warrior 5K run. Seven days later it participated in set up and gift distribution for the Margarita Ball presented by the Huntsville Margarita Society, which raised over $125,000 for local charities. Also, 18 brothers participated in SGA’s Big Event totaling 90 hours of community service.

A week after 2015 rolled-in, the chapter initiated twelve new brothers from the Gamma Alpha pledge class.

Mu Beta has three brothers who are NCAA athletes. Taylor Buzzard, Danny Collins, and Tripp Maloy are members of both the cross country and track and field teams.

On April 12, the chapter received multiple honors at the year-end Greek awards banquet. Austin Finley was named IFC Man of the Year, Paul Rowland was named Senior of the Year, and Justin Shelton was named Advisor of the Year. In addition, the chapter was named Most Improved and received awards for Best Educational Program, Higher Education Day, and Best Joint Community Service Event.

Appalachian State

Kappa Epsilon hosted a LEAD session with Armanti Edwards as guest facilitator. Edwards is a past Appalachian State quarterback, winner of two national championships, two-time Walter Payton Award winner, and leader of the upset over 5th ranked Michigan in 2007.

In the session, Edwards shared useful insights on leadership gained through his successful careers in football and real estate. LEAD sessions have seen increased attendance this semester, this being the most popular by far.

Brother Mitch Perguson is chapter Commander and is also on the men’s basketball team at Appalachian State. Along with his accomplishments on the court and in the chapter, Perguson made the All-Academic team for the Sun Belt Conference by maintaining a 3.49 GPA.

Chaplain Patrick Fontaine is graduating top of his class from the economics department and past Lieutenant Commander Devin Honbarger has been accepted into three law schools.

The chapter also received best percentage of bids accepted and largest spring pledge class.

This spring semester two brothers, Dillon Hewitt-Castillo (past Treasurer) and Jack Schaufler (past Recruitment Chairman), embarked on a six month study abroad adventure that would take them across Europe. They are living independently in a massive metropolitan area for the first time. They’ve indulged in tapas, Real Madrid Futbol, and an abundance of fine arts. Experiencing Spanish culture is not their only cultural endeavor, however. The two have planned future travels to many diverse destinations such as the Netherlands, Switzerland, Lisbon and Porto, Prague, Istanbul, and Italy.

It’s hard not to miss home and both miss families, close friends, girlfriends, and brothers. They miss contributing to the well-being of their chapter and Appalachian State University. Jack and Dillon are displaying Love, Honor and Truth in all of their travels and are two of many who are currently representatives of fraternity culture – and more importantly Sigma Nu – to the global community. The two can’t wait to return to Appalachian State and help propel Kappa Epsilon to new heights while showing their achievement of keeping Brotherhood alive from abroad.

Brother Dillon Hewitt-Castillo in the Bernese Alps while studying abroad in Spain.

Brother Dillon Hewitt-Castillo in the Bernese Alps while studying abroad in Spain.

Arkansas

This spring Gamma Upsilon Chapter along with Arkansas’ Kappa Alpha chapter hosted well-known sexual assault and risk management speaker Adam Ritz. Over 150 were in attendance, including members of multiple fraternities and sororities.

Arkansas Ft. Smith

The Nu Alpha Chapter held their 8th annual St. Jude Breakaway 5k on April 4. Each year, the 5k helps the children of St. Jude breakaway from the grips of cancer and other catastrophic diseases. With over 160 runners participating, the chapter raised over $3,600.

Auburn

Russell Kendrick was recently elected Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast Diocese of the Episcopal Church. Russell joined the Beta Theta Chapter in 1978 from his home in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. His pastor there was Richard H. Cobbs IV – also a brother of Beta Theta Chapter. Father Cobbs was a mentor to Russell in many ways and pointed Russell to Sigma Nu at Auburn.

Russell served the chapter as Chaplain and as Alumni Contact Officer, and was elected vice president of the SGA. Following his architecture degree, Russell practiced architecture with his father for eight years before joining the ministry. Following seminary, Russell has served parishes in Georgia and Alabama 2007. Russell has energized and revitalized every parish he has served.

“Only God could have dreamt up the idea of a fraternity chaplain who later became an architect to eventually go on to serve as a Bishop,” Kendrick said recently in the Beta Theta Chapter newsletter. “During the election process I bumped into a couple of old fraternity brothers, and I was surprised of just how deep the bond between us was still alive after so many years apart. The bond of friendship is a powerful force that transcends time and space. Even more, I trust that bond is a mere glimpse of that greater bond that we share with God of whom I have been called to serve as a Bishop in the Episcopal Church.”

Ball State

On July 25th, the Theta Nu Chapter will hold its annual golf scramble at the Morningstar Golf Club in Indianapolis. The golf club is owned by Brother Steve Seibel. Registration is $75 for alumni and $40 for undergraduate brothers and will begin at noon. To register, contact Kevin Short (Theta Nu 419) via email short@aol.com.

The brothers of Theta Nu Chapter and the women of Delta Zeta after a ballroom dance social. Photo courtesy of Jessica Linnea.

The brothers of Theta Nu Chapter and the women of Delta Zeta after a ballroom dance social. Photo courtesy of Jessica Linnea.

Bowling Green

On Saturday, November 22, members of Epsilon Chi Chapter spent part of the morning writing letters to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post near Bowling Green, Ohio.

Bradley

On February 13, Zeta Phi ran 38 miles from Normal, Ill., to the Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria as part of its game ball run. The chapter did this to raise funds for the hospital and did so while dribbling basketballs the entire journey.

“This is the 23rd year we’ve done this. This is my fourth year and my last year, so I’d like to hang my cap on this one and go out with a bang. I think the amount will be quite satisfactory and very beneficial to the Children’s Hospital,” said Brother Brian Fleming to Peoria’s CBS affiliate.

The chapter collected $20,000 for the hospital after fundraising for more than a year.

Butler

Starting in July, Brother Robert Gale will be working as a financial analyst at the J.P. Morgan Private Bank in the ultra-high net worth division in Chicago, Ill. In this role, he will be supporting a team of bankers and investors to help manage client portfolios. “The largest take-away I have from Sigma Nu is that I have surrounded myself with the best men at Butler University and through this support system, I have been able to become more confident,” said Gale.

Past Collegiate Grand Councilman Joey Thomas has been accepted to Indiana University School of Medicine where he will start in the fall. “The titles and awards mean nothing compared to the unbelievable friendships and experiences. Sigma Nu and the people associated with it have done more for me than I could ever possibly repay,” said Thomas.

Several Epsilon Mu brothers competed in NCAA athletics including Brigham Stewart and Andrew Eiler (golf), Jaxon Sher, David Starkey, Zach Taylor, and Thomas Baldwin (football), and Alex Wodmoe (tennis). In addition, Brother David Starkey is the president and founder of Butler Athletes Recognizing Kids which is an organization of Butler student-athletes that visits and supports kids in local elementary schools and hospitals.

Epsilon Mu brothers have participated in the It’s On Us Campaign and the Stand Tall program. Notably, the chapter had numerous brothers attend a campus-wide event where they pledged to prevent sexual assault. Additionally, Epsilon Mu has been active in Stand Tall’s social media campaign by contributing pictures.

Alumnus Stanley Schumacher is director of Stanley Schumacher and the Music Now Ensemble and president of Musikmacher Productions. Musikmacher Productions’ mission is to produce recordings of both improvised and composed contemporary classical music in a chamber music format. The company’s four most recent releases are excellent examples of how it fulfills this mission in very different ways.

“Jive At 5:05” can best be described as improvised contemporary classical music meets free-form jazz.  The title track of “Way Cool” introduces a narrative to the musical mix; “Way Cool” is a tale of abandonment, sin, and a young man’s fall from grace. The exciting new element on “Experimental Music Lab” is the use of a Theremin, very unusual in contemporary classical music. Finally, “No Technique” is a 42-minute composition for three trombones written by Stanley Schumacher. Featuring renowned bass trombonist David Taylor, it illustrates “Perfect Symmetry for Perfect Order.”

All recordings are available as CD’s or downloads from www.CDBaby.com.

Cal State Los Angeles

Brothers Ricardo Silva, Michael Lopez, and Colburn Junus drove over 2,500 miles from Los Angeles to visit the Headquarters Shrine while on their spring break.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Kappa Pi Chapter has seen a lot of change over the past year. The most noteworthy achievements have been the creation of a Pursuit of Excellence committee, over $10,000 raised from the Ducky Derby and Haunted House philanthropies, the successful recruitment of a 33 man candidate class, and creation of the SAFER Representative Officer (works with the chapter to put an end to sexual assault on campus, in the community, and in the Greek system).

Something else worth noting is that Kappa Pi has almost doubled in size in the past 18 months from roughly 60 members and candidates, to about 110 members and candidates. Although this growth has brought some challenges, Kappa Pi has successfully adapted. Kappa Pi has even improved overall chapter operations and very much looks forward to the next Pursuit of Excellence submission to show the national organization, and chapters around the nation, all that has been accomplished.

The chapter recently hosted an event for sororities called Turn the Tables on Sexual Assault. Each participating sorority purchased one wooden table which was designed and decorated with help from Kappa Pi brothers. Designs included sorority and fraternity logos, American flags, superhero logos, sexual assault prevention quotes, and inspirational quotes. When all the tables were finished, awards were given to the sororities based upon design, creativity, neatness, originality, and best overall table.

In addition to participation from campus sororities, Cal Poly’s SAFER organization also supported and sponsored the event. SAFER works to prevent sexual assaults, encourage safe sex, and overall relationship health. During the event, participants were given white t-shirts and were encouraged to create a clever slogan or design that corresponded with preventing sexual assault.

All money that was raised from purchasing the tables was then donated to RISE SLO, a non-profit sexual assault prevention and treatment organization. In total, the event raised $1,000, but the amount of positive support and excitement that was created far outweighed the money.

Kappa Pi has one brother, Jack Connor Kim, who is on Cal Poly’s NCAA Division I men’s wrestling team. Brother Reid Wilhelm, a third year electrical engineering major was named “Mr. Fraternity” by the local Alpha Omicron Pi chapter.

Lastly, at the beginning of this year, Kappa Pi had eight student orientation leaders who helped welcome over 200 freshmen to campus. Each leader put in over 100 hours of volunteer work and each was responsible for managing and helping roughly 25 students. These leaders showed students around campus, the city, helped them set up college accounts, and assisted them with anything they needed during their first week of school.

The brothers of Kappa Pi and their Turn the Tables on Sexual Assault philanthropy event.

The brothers of Kappa Pi and their Turn the Tables on Sexual Assault philanthropy event.

Cal State San Bernardino

Brother Ezekiel Ramos, with the help of Lambda Chi Chapter, won Alpha Phi’s Eta Beta Chapter Heartthrob by raising nearly $4,000.

Zeke went above and beyond to raise funds. He started a GoFundMe campaign raising $1,000, contacted professors on campus for donations, reached out to local businesses, and went to alumni for support. A huge thank you to Brother Joe Baxter for his donation.

California

Brother Tyler Crouch was recently featured in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for his new technology startup Eko Devices. Crouch, who is a 2014 graduate of California Berkeley, is the CTO and co-founder of Eko Devices. The company’s chief product is the Eko Core, a Bluetooth attachment to stethoscopes that ensures doctors make more accurate readings of heartbeats.

The new startup recently finished a round of funding that raised over $2 million. The company was also a top three finisher in Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC), a prominent competition for new startup ventures.

This April, Beta Psi had its second annual Carnival for the Cure for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The chapter partnered with Tau Kappa Epsilon and Delta Delta Delta to co-host the event. The day was filled with carnival games, performances by student groups like the Cal Band, and a raffle. Berkeley police officers even joined in on the fun and volunteered to go into the dunk tank! It was a great event and the event raised over $5,000 for cancer research.

Beta Psi began this event last year and hopes to continue the tradition by raising more money, attracting more students, and possibly even expanding it to other chapters.

Carnegie-Mellon

Alumnus Jonathan Kaufman (Delta Sigma 1325), working on his Ph.D. in physics at UC San Diego, was a member of the now-famous BICEP2 team, which showed the first-ever evidence of the universe’s expansion. Kaufman worked on a telescope in Antarctica for four years to achieve this incredible result.

For the collegiate chapter, Delta Sigma saw three brothers, Zuojun Gong, Vijay Viswanathan, and Bradford Wyatt, Jr., elected to CMU’s student senate.

Wyatt and Viswanathan were selected as Orientation Counselors, with Gong chosen as an Orientation Leader for summer 2014. Furthermore, Gong was elected as IFC VP of member development for the 2014 year. The chapter is proud of the involvement of these brothers in the community.

Case Western

This spring, Delta Alpha Chapter has held many LEAD and round-table discussion sessions in regards to sexual misconduct and prevention. Charlie Topel (Delta Alpha 1355) and Andrew Blasius (Delta Alpha 1386) along with Risk Reduction Chairman John Pease (Delta Alpha 1348) and Lieutenant Commander Julian Potter (Delta Alpha 1356) have promoted discussion and change within the chapter, Greek life, and the campus community through the SMARRT program, which was founded by Charlie Topel.

Speaking about his involvement with the program, Brother Blasius said, “The greatest achievement of this task force … is the sustained dialogue which it has worked to establish in the campus community. I am extraordinarily grateful that my brothers have taken this issue to heart and have made the commitment to such a dialogue, through LEAD sessions, roundtable discussions, and other events. Proud to be a Sigma Nu.”

Freshman Ben Zelkin competed on Case Western’s track and field team this year.

Central Florida

On April 17, the Mu Psi Chapter held its 6th annual Undie Classic event benefiting Goodwill Industries. This year the chapter had 300 people turn out, the largest total yet. The chapter donated 2,700 pounds of clothes to the local Central Florida Goodwill stores.

Each year the event has gotten larger with more people participating and more clothes being donated. This year the chapter brought in Victoria Secret’s PINK at UCF as a partner. The chapter also used social media by getting a Snapchat “geofilter,” by creating a Twitter, and having more Facebook exposure. The event was also supported by Monster Energy and a local band made of chapter brothers called the Wild Flyer.

Central Oklahoma

Dr. Chris Markwood, alumnus of Mu Tau Chapter, was recently named the fifth president of Columbus State University. Markwood began his career at the University of Central Oklahoma in 1994 where he taught in the department of political science. It was here where Markwood became the first faculty advisor of the Mu Tau Chapter. In recognition of his service to the chapter, Markwood was initiated as a non-matriculate brother.

Markwood is coming to Columbus State after a four year tenure as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. “I think the future is bright for this institution,” said Dr. Markwood in a recorded statement.

Colorado

At the 2014 IFC awards banquet, Gamma Kappa was honored with two awards. Brother Ryan Langhorst was given Academic Achievement recognition and Kevin Zell was named Fraternity President of the Year.

Also, Brother Zell was named the IFC president for 2015. “I hope to continue upon the progress we made this year and our new exec board is a great group of guys,” said Zell.

Cornell

Four Gamma Theta brothers have begun a startup venture called Worthy Jerky, a company that is seeking to reinvent beef jerky. Brothers Alex Krakoski, Max Tave, Ilan Filonenko, and Jeffery Kruse hold various leadership roles within the student led startup and are seeking to expand Worthy Jerky’s reach across Cornell’s campus. The company also has a redesigned website that allows customers to place online orders.

“When I received a scholarship to finish my high school education in Switzerland, I asked my mother for her delicious home-made beef jerky because my friends and I needed a portable, nutritious yet tasty snack for the ski slopes. With every bite, my friends became obsessed, and word of mouth began to spread. And thus, Worthy Jerky was born,” wrote Worthy Jerky CEO Alex Krakoski on the company’s website.

George Washington

This fall, Delta Pi’s Timothy Stackhouse was elected president of George Washington University’s IFC. Since then, he and other Greek life leaders have worked with the university to make sexual assault prevention a top priority on campus. They are focusing on expanding opportunities and recommendations for chapters to attend sexual assault prevention training led by the university’s Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education, as well as preparing other ideas on the same subject.

Stackhouse served as Commander of Delta Pi in 2014 before being elected IFC president for 2015. He has also served in several other leadership positions within the chapter.

In an interview this past March, Stackhouse said, “For the IFC, a very important issue is the safety of our members and all students on campus, especially when it comes to sexual assault.” He also wants to make sure that the people who step into the new roles of president and vice president every year are completing what has been started by past IFC leaders.

In addition to Stackhouse’s election, current Commander Alexander Maxwell was appointed to a new Greek life task force, which meets bi-monthly in working groups to research issues affecting the community.

In addition, this fall marks Delta Pi Chapter’s 100th anniversary on George Washington University’s campus! The chapter will celebrate the history of the university’s longest continually-active fraternity by inviting alumni, family, and friends to a weekend centennial event, highlighted by a Saturday evening cruise on the Spirit of Washington. For event details and registration, visit www.gwusigmanu.com.

Lastly, the Delta Pi Chapter’s spring semester rush was particularly successful. The chapter gained 11 candidates, one of its largest spring classes in a long time.

Eastern Kentucky

Last fall, Theta Theta Chapter had its annual fall philanthropy event Jail N’ Bail which raised over $2,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

All IFC and Panhellenic organizations participated in this event, with the local Kappa Alpha Theta chapter winning for most money donated.

Brothers Andrew Moorhead and Justin Asher in Paris while studying abroad.

Brothers Andrew Moorhead and Justin Asher in Paris while studying abroad.

Eastern Illinois

Around 25 Lambda Gamma brothers participated in Delta Delta Delta’s Be The Hero 5k Run and Fun Walk at 10 a.m. on March 28. Brothers volunteered and ran in the race that raised over $1,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The chapter also placed third in the tug-of-war competition as part of Eastern Illinois’ Greek week festivities and hosted its annual Easter dinner on Saturday, April 5.

Fresno State

Air Force Colonel Derek Hirohata (right) was recently on hand to honor eight fallen American military service members at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony honored those who perished in Operation Eagle Claw, the American military’s attempt to rescue 52 American diplomats held in Iran. Hirohata was on hand representing the Air Force Special Operations Command and participated in a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The ceremony was held on April 25, the 35th anniversary of the attempted rescue.

Photo courtesy of Michael Garcia.

Photo courtesy of Michael Garcia.

Georgia

At the beginning of the spring semester, Mu Chapter began making plans to host a new philanthropy event that the chapter coined “The Classic City Bowl.” The brothers learned a lot by hosting the philanthropy soccer tournament in 2014, but decided that they were capable of hosting an even larger community-wide event.

Mu borrowed the idea from Epsilon Xi Chapter at The University of Mississippi and hopes for the Classic City Bowl to mimic the legendary “Charity Bowl” that has been held in Oxford for the past 24 years. After many phone calls with the brothers at Ole Miss, Mu Chapter leadership decided it was time for The University of Georgia to put on a similarly groundbreaking event.

Much like The Charity Bowl of Oxford, The Classic City Bowl will be a full-contact, high school style football game, to be played between Sigma Nu and one other fraternity on campus. This year’s game has been scheduled to take place between the brothers of Mu and the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi at UGA. The game is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 25th at Clarke County High School, a prime location in Athens, Ga., and walking distance from many Greek, university, and student housing complexes.

The brothers of Mu have set a fundraising goal of $30,000 and a ticket sales goal of $2,000. Mu has partnered with all seventeen Panhellenic sororities on Georgia’s campus in an event to create maximum “buzz” and excitement among the Greek community. The potential the event possesses excites Mu Chapter as this is the first philanthropic event of this nature or magnitude to be held at The University of Georgia.

Georgia Southern

It has been a banner year for the Theta Kappa Chapter at Georgia Southern University. The chapter’s annual philanthropy, the ΣND MS Benefit Campaign, finished its fundraising efforts with over $10,000 raised for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

In addition to raising money for this worthy cause, the chapter also has fun while doing it. As a conclusion to the benefit campaign, the chapter hosted the ΣND MS Benefit Concert that featured a low country boil and live music.

The chapter held its third annual Commander’s Dinner at Bones Restaurant in Atlanta on January 17. The dinner had 15 attendees, including past Commanders, and was highlighted by an address from Michael Barry (Georgia) the current chairman of Task Force Hopkins. “This event displays the chapter’s living past and reiterates the fact that Sigma Nu is a lifelong commitment,” added Division Commander and Theta Kappa AAB Chairman Bill Geddy.

At November’s Georgia Southern Greek awards banquet, Theta Kappa took multiple awards and honors. The chapter was named Chapter of the Year, a Five Star Chapter (out of five), was given the Philanthropy Award, and received the Campus Involvement Award for the second consecutive year. Brother Adam Clay was also presented with an IFC merit scholarship and Brother Brian Griffin was sworn in as IFC vice president of programming.

Theta Kappa’s accomplishments have been especially noteworthy in light of its own crisis moment in 2013. In the spring semester of that year, the chapter was placed on alumni receivership and subsequently expelled 37 of its 56 members, leaving just 19 men to carry the chapter forward.

These 19 men committed to being something more; they committed to leading on campus, in the classroom, and in life. They knew social status would come once other problems were fixed. Brother Evan Winebarger, who served as the first post-reorganization Commander noted that, “With only 19 men, we were very limited in most aspects. However, we never became fixated on what we couldn’t do. Instead we focused on doing everything that we could to lay a solid foundation of excellence for future brothers.”

Under Winebarger’s leadership, Theta Kappa began to emphasize recruiting the right men. In the first semester after the reorganization, the 19 men remaining in the chapter recruited 19 candidates, doubling the chapter’s size. Brother Adam Clay, the first post-reorganization Recruitment Chairman, said, “We started utilizing values-based recruitment. We began to look for quality in the men that we recruited and considered what each man brought to the table before we ever extended a bid. We looked at their grades, leadership involvement in high school, and other personal qualities as well.”

A newfound importance was placed upon other previously neglected chapter programs as well. Most notably among these was the LEAD Program. Under the leadership of Brother Brian Griffin, who simultaneously served as the first post-reorganization LEAD Chairman and Philanthropy Chairman, the chapter began to excel in both arenas. Brother Griffin said, “We introduced a LEAD speaker series that really engaged alumni.”

The semester after the reorganization, nine Theta Kappa alumni conducted LEAD sessions on various topics including risk reduction, values based leadership, and local chapter history, among others. This was a valuable educational experience and it led to reengagement of alumni that had not been involved for years. Many alumni guest facilitators later became involved with the Alumni Advisory Board.

During the spring 2014 semester, the entire chapter boarded a charter bus to make the eight hour drive to Lexington to see the place where the Fraternity was founded. In addition to touring headquarters and staying on the grounds in the Carriage House, the chapter had the unique opportunity of initiating the spring 2014 candidate class in the Alpha Room. “Going to Lexington and seeing so many things sacred to Sigma Nu really brought everything we had learned in the year after the reorganization to life. It gave us a real perspective of the past,” said Brother Eric Degen, Commander at the time.

Through their pursuit of excellence and commitment to living their values, Theta Kappa is poised to become one of the elite fraternity chapters in the nation. With greatly improved chapter operations, a membership of 65 men, and a newfound top tier social status on campus, the future looks bright for Theta Kappa. The chapter’s new goals are further strengthening its operations and continuing to live in the life of Love, walk in the way of Honor, and serve in the light of Truth.

Theta Kappa Commander Adam Clay presents Sigma Nu Hall of Fame member and former NFL quarterback Archie Manning (Mississippi) with a Sigma Nu alumni lapel pin. Manning was on campus at Georgia Southern as part of the Leadership Lecture Series presented by the student affairs office. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Wilburn – Georgia Southern University.

Theta Kappa Commander Adam Clay presents Sigma Nu Hall of Fame member and former NFL quarterback Archie Manning (Mississippi) with a Sigma Nu alumni lapel pin. Manning was on campus at Georgia Southern as part of the Leadership Lecture Series presented by the student affairs office. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Wilburn – Georgia Southern University.

Georgia State

The Greek Awards Banquet this year went extremely well as Eta Gamma was named Chapter of the Year as well as Most Philanthropic. The chapter has raised a large amount of money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Currently, the chapter is getting ready for its 5th Annual Sigma Nu Smoke Out benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and it anticipates raising around $15,000. With the help of alumni, brothers, the GSU Greek community, and sponsoring affiliates, this year’s event is expected to be the most successful yet.

Eta Gamma has recruited eight new members for the spring 2015 semester. These candidates have shown outstanding growth and dedication to the chapter. The class has accumulated around 1,000 hours of community service participating in various events such as the candidate class’s BBQ Cookout. They also managed communication lines with the brothers at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Radiothon event in Atlanta.

The chapter used LEAD sessions from Phases I-IV and has used several guest speakers. One of the speakers was an attorney who spoke about risk and crisis management programming. Other guests consisted of campus administrators to project directors at major firms in the Atlanta area. In one session, the chapter was joined by Alpha Xi Delta.

This semester the brothers participated in various philanthropy events hosted by other organizations within the Greek Community. Eta Gamma brothers were runners-up in Phi Mu’s Spring Fling Week and Alpha Xi Delta’s Xi Marks the Spot event. These events raised money for Autism Speaks and Children’s Miracle Network.

Eta Gamma’s alumni relations efforts have shown dramatic improvement as it has become routine to invite alumni to chapter events and initiatives.

Georgia Tech

Gamma Alpha had a very successful spring semester after welcoming 22 newly initiated brothers last fall.

The chapter hosted a bystander awareness seminar for Georgia Tech to inform students about the bystander effect and to teach proper emergency response. The chapter also provided a free CPR class to all campus Greeks.

In April, Gamma Alpha raised over $4,000 for Team Clark and Kickin’ it for a Cure by hosting a charity band party. Team Clark supports a Kappa Sigma at Georgia Tech who suffered severe brain damage upon falling from his loft, and Kickin’ it for a Cure helps a brother at the University of Iowa, who was diagnosed with stage 3 brain cancer.

Gamma Alpha also volunteered 60 brothers at the Atlanta Steeple Chase, which benefits the Atlanta Speech School, continuing a chapter tradition that has lasted over 20 years.

South Carolina and Clemson Host 35th Game Ball Run

Every year for the past 35 years, the Delta and Theta Zeta Chapters from South Carolina and Clemson participate in the Game Ball Run. The run takes place the weekend before the South Carolina-Clemson football game. This year, Delta Chapter ran the game ball starting at Williams Brice Football Stadium in Columbia, S.C., all the way to Greenwood, S.C., over 60 miles away.

Once in Greenwood, the two chapters met for dinner at a local Huddle House restaurant and then Theta Zeta Chapter ran the ball the rest of the 60+ miles to Clemson Memorial Stadium.

The brothers run, one or two at a time, behind a police escort. A tour bus, filled with the remainder of the participating brothers, follows and allows for the runners to alternate for the entire journey.

This year’s Game Ball Run was one of the most successful in its history. Both chapters started with lofty fundraising goals and saw great success in their efforts. The Delta Chapter, which raises funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Swing Mission in the Bahamas, raised over $25,000. Theta Zeta was able to match Delta’s total as they also raised $25,000 which they donated to Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney’s All-In Team Foundation.

Not only was this year’s run successful financially, but the Sigma Nu Game Ball Run also gained a lot of publicity. Delta and Theta Zeta Philanthropy Chairmen, Jay Benton and Casey Johnson, were recognized on the field before the Clemson-Carolina football game.

“Going forward, our fraternity is incredibly excited to continue to work with Dabo’s All In Team Foundation to help provide hope and better opportunities to those in need,” said Casey Johnson. “As Coach Swinney said to our chapter after the run concluded last November, ‘you make a life by what you give.’ It is our sincere hope that we will be able to do this with the All-In Team Foundation for many years to come.”

“We are very proud of our efforts this year and look forward to seeing what the future holds for our signature philanthropy event,” added Jay Benton.

Brothers of Theta Zeta with Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney after a football practice. The entire chapter was invited to attend a Clemson Tiger football practice as a result of the chapter’s support of the All In Team Foundation.

Brothers of Theta Zeta with Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney after a football practice. The entire chapter was invited to attend a Clemson Tiger football practice as a result of the chapter’s support of the All In Team Foundation.

The Delta Chapter preparing to begin their 60 mile leg of the Game Ball Run that culminated in a dinner with the Theta Zeta Chapter in Greenwood, S.C.

The Delta Chapter preparing to begin their 60 mile leg of the Game Ball Run that culminated in a dinner with the Theta Zeta Chapter in Greenwood, S.C.

Hampden-Sydney

This winter, the college’s board of trustees and president recognized Eta Pi Brother Worth Osgood. During the previous summer, Osgood pulled a man to safety from an overturned tractor-trailer on 1-95 near Richmond, Va. Risking exposure to open fuel, Osgood pulled the driver out of danger by hitting out pieces of broken glass from the windshield. Many local media outlets covered the story and labeled Osgood a hero.

Last fall, Eta Pi Brother and men’s soccer member Ryan Turner was awarded the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Rookie of the Year and the Virginia State Rookie of the Year, in addition to a Second-Team All ODAC selection. He led all freshmen in the ODAC in points (18) and goals (7). Turner’s 18 points were good for fourth overall in the ODAC while his seven goals are tied for third. In ODAC-only games, he checked in second in points (15) and goals (6).

Additionally on the All ODAC Second-Team was Eta Pi Brother James Lawrence. Lawrence totaled 13 points, five goals, and three assists. His five goals ranked him 10th in the ODAC, and he also had the third-most game-winning tallies in the league with three.

Both Blake Carrey and William Boinest shared the Manager of the Year award for their vital assistance with the men’s soccer program. After countless hours of work behind the scenes, Carrey and Boinest were recognized during the annual sports banquet.

On Saturday, April 11, the Eta Pi Chapter held their annual Greek Week Pig Roast. Over 200 people in attendance enjoyed food, drinks, and a performance by The Rhondels. All proceeds were donated to Habitat for Humanity.

The planning for Eta Pi Chapter’s 50th anniversary is underway and the chapter is excited to contact and work with alumni in order to put on the best event possible.

Huntingdon

Nu Beta Chapter had a successful academic year including many chapter and individual accolades. Last fall, Nu Beta won the All-Greek Homecoming Spirit Cup. Brothers Jeremiah Stone, Malone Kaak, and Tristan Thompson were elected to IFC as president, vice president of administration, and vice president of finance, respectively.

Nu Beta Chapter also received awards at the annual Greek Awards Banquet for Outstanding Membership Programming, Outstanding Alumni Relations and Communication, and National Publication Recognition. Brother Harden Spencer received Greek Man of the Year and Brother Miles Barnhardt received Future Fraternity Leader.

Indiana

This spring, Beta Eta hosted its third annual Greek Bowl flag football philanthropy, raising funds for Middle Way House in Bloomington. About $3,500 has been raised over the past year for the cause. The chapter raised a total of more than $18,000 since beginning the Greek Bowl philanthropy three years ago.

Middle Way House is an organization based in Bloomington dedicated to ending violence in the lives of women and children. “We wanted to give back to Bloomington on a local level,” said Beta Eta Philanthropy Chairman Brett Krieg.

The chapter raised funds through a combination of canning on campus, online donations, and buy-ins from the teams participating in the tournament. This year, ten fraternities participated. “We do this to give back, but it is also a lot of fun,” Krieg said. “It’s just friendly competition.”

Jacksonville State

Commander Kenneth Smith was named president of SEIFC this spring semester and Brother Tyler Brown was named Big Man on Campus by the Jacksonville State Zeta Tau Alpha chapter.

The chapter also celebrated its 40th anniversary on April 11 at the Anniston Country Club.

James Madison

Brother Zach Bolan (Iota Delta 721) was awarded James Madison University’s Fraternity Man of the Year for 2014, after completing his term as IFC president. The chapter also raised over $5,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as part of its Rock Week philanthropy.

Kansas

Nu Chapter was honored to receive several awards and recognitions this spring. The chapter was presented with the Elizabeth Watkins Community Caring Award by the Lawrence Memorial Hospital. The award was presented as appreciation for the chapter’s commitment to service and volunteering at many of the hospital’s events over the last six years. The chapter is proud of being the first fraternity to ever receive the award.

At this spring’s Greek awards banquet, Brother Nathan Lutz was named Outstanding New Member and the chapter received Excellence in Membership and Development, Risk Management and Legal Liability, and Leadership and Campus Engagement.

Brother Sam Tanner (Nu 2393) is a member of the KU Rugby team. Although the University of Kansas doesn’t have an NCAA Division 1 rugby team, the Jayhawks still had a great season. They represented the United States in Ireland over spring break where Turner was one the Jayhawk’s top scorers.

Kent State

On November 2, Zeta Gamma Chapter invited former Major League Baseball and World Series Champion Jim Leyland to conduct a LEAD session on stress management and motivation. As part of a new initiative to improve alumni and professional relations for the chapter, past Commander Mark Gockowski invited Leyland to speak to Zeta Gamma.

Leyland created a presentation comparing a Major League Baseball organization to a fraternity chapter and giving leadership advice on how to handle prolonged stress. Leyland drew an analogy between motivating baseball teams through a long season to motivating a fraternity chapter through a long school year.

Louisiana Lafayette

This spring, the Eta Nu Chapter won first place in Greek week. As part of the festivities, Brother Cameron Haddad (Eta Nu 1092) was given the award New Greek Male of The Year. Brother Haddad also participated in Phi Mu’s annual philanthropy event, Big Man on Campus, and won Mr. Money Maker, Mr. Sexy Legs, and Mr. Congeniality.

Eta Nu alumni held a reunion weekend on March 6-7 which was attended by close to 60 alumni. The collegiate chapter supported the reunion by hosting a BBQ.

Louisiana Tech

During the 2014-15 academic year, Eta Zeta Chapter had a total of 87 collegiate members with the highest pin being Eta Zeta 1247.

Each year, the chapter holds a LEAD session led by the Alumni Commander, Stanley Dupuy. Local alumni participate in this session, sharing their wisdom and experience with the collegiate chapter and new candidates. This is a great opportunity for the chapter to meet older alumni and gain advice and insight on ways to better the chapter.

This year was the third consecutive year for Eta Zeta to win Greek week. In previous years of Eta Zeta’s history, fraternities competed for the All-Sports trophy. The Eta Zeta Chapter won 27 out of the 31 All-Sports championships, which ultimately led to the dissipation of the sports competition. Greek week, which involves philanthropy events, sports competition, and campus-wide events, was created in lieu of the All-Sports championship. Eta Zeta has won every Greek week since it began.

This year, Eta Zeta held a car wash benefiting SFC Tammie Riggs. Tammie, a soldier in the Louisiana National Guard, a mother of two, and a wife to a soldier in the National Guard, is being treated at MD Anderson, undergoing her second stem cell transplant. Eta Zeta Chapter raised over $3,000 to help pay for medical expenses for Tammie.

Eta Zeta is preparing for its annual crawfish boil benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This event was started in 2000 by Dr. Allen Torey, a past Commander, and has become a tradition ever since. Last year the chapter raised over $7,500. This year, with an increase in manpower, the chapter has set a goal to raise over $9,000.

Each year, the chapter hosts an alumni and parent brunch before the homecoming football game. After the game, parents and alumni attend a social gathering back at the chapter house. The chapter is proud to have been holding these events since its founding in 1961.

Josh Cox throws javelin for Louisiana Tech and has been Academic All-Conference all four years of his college career in both the Western Athletic Conference and Conference USA.

Jackson Close, Bailey Laborde, and Nick Liberatos are Orientation Student Leaders this year for Louisiana Tech. In this position, they will be in charge of directing summer orientation for incoming freshmen.

Several brothers of Eta Zeta Chapter have started their own businesses. Blake Thomas has started his own clothing company called Southern Manners. Recent alumnus Rhodes Moran has his own landscaping service called Fast Grass. Tanner Wyatt owns Wyatt’s Power Washing. The chapter is also proud to financially support Brother Josh McIntire, Chaplain from 2013-2014, in his journey to the missionary field of East Asia.

One of the more creative LEAD sessions was a physical wellness session. It was in the form of a yoga session with the Louisiana Tech Kappa Delta Chapter. The chapter enjoys involving other groups to better develop the community on campus.

Alumnus Tony Dixon is planning an alumni event with his pledge class in the fall, which would allow the collegiate chapter to meet older alumni, gain wisdom and hear some of stories from the chapter in its earlier days.

The Alumni Advisory Board consists of Stanley Dupuy (president), Chris Stegall, John Morgan, and Chris Barr. Alumni advisors include Lomax Napper and Joe Reyes. The new House Corporation President is Greg Smotherman.

Michigan State

The brothers of Epsilon Rho won this spring’s intramural basketball championship, triumphing over FIJI 39-18 in the championship game.

Middle Tennessee State

Reese Osborne is the current IFC vice president of community relations. In this position, Osborne monitors IFC social media accounts and develops marketing materials to be used in recruitment and other IFC initiatives. “Being a part of IFC is a great challenge that I was prepared for by joining Sigma Nu and I love being able to represent our chapter on the executive board,” said Osborne speaking about his experience.

Midwestern State

Eta Upsilon completed over 300 hours of service to the community of Wichita Falls, Texas, with only 20 members. The service consisted of working with a local food bank, helping with an annual Halloween festival, and working with the intellectually disabled community.

This semester, the chapter created the philanthropy event, Dodge for a Cause. This event was a co-ed dodgeball tournament to benefit a local group of people with intellectual disabilities. Over $1,300 was raised in signups and donations. This event was led by Commander Trey Twilligear (Eta Upsilon 545) and Community Service and Philanthropy Chairman Walter James (Eta Upsilon 561) with the chapter putting in a great amount of effort to help.

Minnesota

The 2014-2015 academic year has been very exciting for Gamma Tau Chapter in terms of philanthropy, campus involvement, and national awards. The excitement began with Gamma Tau receiving its fifth consecutive Rock Chapter Award at the 66th Grand Chapter in July.

The heightened morale from attaining a decade of excellence motivated the chapter to continue this trend with Border Battle, the largest philanthropy event of the fall 2014 semester. Gamma Tau’s donations increased by 33% from last year for a total of nearly $6,500, which is the largest sum the chapter has ever donated at Border Battle. With the help of Beta Epsilon Chapter at Coe College, Lambda Delta Chapter at Mankato, and Eta Theta Chapter at North Dakota State University, Gamma Tau was able to raise a grand total of $10,926 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Gamma Tau also strives to be involved in all areas of campus life. Lieutenant Commander Nicholas Ohren has been selected as a Freshman Orientation Leader and will facilitate the transition of incoming freshmen. The chapter has also increased involvement in the Greek community with two brothers elected to the executive council of the IFC. Brother Fred Werner was elected executive vice president and Brother Jacob Iveland was elected vice president for member development, with both brothers taking office in December.

The spring semester has continued to be productive with Gamma Tau winning three awards at the University of Minnesota Greek Awards 2015: Outstanding Membership Program, Outstanding Community Service Program, and Chapter of Excellence. The most notable spring philanthropy event has been the first ever Snuzapalooza. In collaboration with Memorial Blood Centers and Love Your Melon, 40 blood donations were made for recipients in need and $400 was raised to benefit pediatric cancer patients.

Of all the achievement and progress Gamma Tau has made this year, its proudest accolade is the North-American Interfraternity Conference Chapter Award of Distinction awarded to the chapter in March. Gamma Tau is honored to be a Sigma Nu chapter nationally recognized for its efforts, and will continue to strive for excellence in the years to come.

Mississippi

Epsilon Xi had a busy year with many brothers participating in athletics, leadership, and other campus activities. Brothers Ben Still and Connor Harris both were a part of Ole Miss’ Division I athletic teams. Still, an offensive lineman for the football team, was a starter and played in 12 of the Rebel’s games. Harris is a freshman on the Ole Miss track team and is a pole vaulter.

Brother Loden Walker was elected Associated Student Body (ASB) attorney general for the 2015-2016 school year. Davis Rogers, the outgoing student body president, was one of ten students inducted into the University of Mississippi’s hall of fame.

Epsilon Xi held its 26th annual Charity Bowl March 27. This year’s recipient was 17-year-old Marcus Banks of Louisville, Miss., who suffered a spinal cord injury playing high school football. The chapter presented Marcus Banks and his family with a check for $75,000 to help him and his family with rehabilitation and secondary education cost. Epsilon Xi has raised over $1.6 million for Charity Bowl recipients over the last 26 years.

Epsilon Xi also donated $25,000 to the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital out of Jackson, Miss., on November 1, 2014.

Past Mississippi State Rep. Tim Ford entered Chapter Eternal on February 27, in Oxford. Brother Ford was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1980 and served as speaker form 1988 to 2004. Ford is credited with providing leadership when the legislative body was experiencing a period of hotly contested political battles.

In a recent Clarion Ledger obituary, columnist Sid Salter remembered Rep. Ford as a good-natured politician with a special skill for uniting various coalitions within the Mississippi House. “I found Ford to be genuine and a man of his word,” Salter said in his piece. “Ford left Mississippi better than he found it when he entered public service — and that’s a powerful legacy.”

Mississippi State

On April 6, the Iota Gamma Chapter hosted Sigma CaNu, its spring philanthropy event benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Starkville Habitat for Humanity. Six sororities and one fraternity participated in the canoe races held at Chadwick Lake.

This was the first Sigma CaNu sponsored by the Iota Gamma Chapter, but the chapter looks forward to growing the event and sponsoring it for many years to come.

Missouri

The Rho Chapter revamped its philanthropy this year with its first annual Sigma Nu Kick for a Cause soccer tournament benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The event took place on November 2, and raised $2,300.

Rho Chapter also participated in Mizzou’s 103rd homecoming the weekend of October 24-25. The chapter was paired with Delta Gamma and Beta Upsilon Chi. After working day and night since the beginning of September on house decorations, a float, and service events, the pairing did not win. However, it was a fun semester hanging out with the women of Delta Gamma and becoming friends with the men of BYX.

This spring, Rho Chapter hosted a kickball tournament for Special Olympics athletes. Members of Rho Chapter spent the afternoon of March 14 playing games of kickball with the athletes. The event took place at the Wilson Fitness Center in Columbia, Mo. The brothers enjoyed the day while helping the athletes participate in games or just by simply kicking the ball around. The chapter hopes to continue a relationship with Special Olympics.

Brother Ryan Greenway (Rho 2408) is currently serving as the LEAD Chairman for the chapter. He has brought in speakers from campus like Kim Dude, assistant director of the Wellness Resource Center to talk about alcohol, and a priest from the Newman Center to talk about ethics. This past summer he served as one of the university’s Summer Welcome Leaders. He has since taken the position of Summer Welcome Student Coordinator. He is one of two coordinators on the five person leadership team that recruits, hires, and trains the 2015 Summer Welcome Leaders, as well as execute and direct the Summer Welcome Program itself; a program that saw the orientation of almost 7,000 new students last year.

Besides that role Greenway is also involved with the Missouri Alumni Association through the Alumni Association Student Board (AASB). He shows great pride in all that is Mizzou.

Over spring break three Rho Chapter members, Kennady Gee (Rho 2377), Blake Toth (Rho 2394), and current candidate Jacob Francis, participated in the Mizzou Alternative Break Program (MAB). MAB was founded in 1991 and has grown to be the second largest alternative break programs in the country behind Ohio State University.

Gee traveled to NYC to work at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a wellness center for men living with HIV. Toth went to Asheville, N.C., and worked with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate doing construction on six homes. Francis travelled to New Orleans and worked with the Children’s Hospital which was hosting their biggest fundraiser of the year, the Sugar Plum Ball.

Sidebar: UC Davis Sigma Nu Co-Founds Latin American Film Series

Founded to increase the appreciation of Latin American arts and culture, the Crisol Latin American Film Initiative will offer Spanish language cinema and a variety of artistic mediums that highlight the similarities between Latinos and their non-Latino peers. The Film Initiative, co-founded by Brother Juan-Paulo Varela (UC Davis), hosted its inaugural run over four weekends beginning Saturday, March 14 through Friday, April 3, 2015. All screenings were held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Varela serves as the program director, while co-founder Karem Orrego, a fourth year film student at the University of Utah, serves as executive director. When asked why he co-founded the Film Initiative, Varela said he wanted to create a platform through which Latin American arts and culture could be both appreciated and critically examined in the context of shifting demographics in the United States.

“Crisol is an olive branch similar to the fraternal love that we as Sigma Nus experience – we want to extinguish tired stereotypes and elucidate a modern Latin America in juxtaposition with the United States,” he said.

The Crisol Film Initiative was seen by a wide audience with prominent attendees including University of Utah administrators, such as the dean and several department chairs of the College of Fine Arts. Likewise, Utah State Senator Luz Escamilla and Utah State Representative Angela Romero attended the closing reception along with leading members of Salt Lake’s arts and culture community at the Urban Arts Gallery in downtown Salt Lake.

To accomplish Crisol’s mission, Varela was engaged with both leading individuals and organizations within Salt Lake’s political, artistic, and cultural spheres over the past six months. The Sundance Film Festival, held in Salt Lake City, helps create a receptive attitude towards artistic endeavors but also creates a competitive market for funding and recognition. As such, Varela and the team at Crisol worked diligently to gain the necessary support making Crisol a reality.

Following a successful inaugural run, Crisol’s sponsors and donors have pledged continued support for the film initiative which Varela hopes will continue as an annual event. Alternatively, the team at Crisol is weighing offers from two of the leading arts festivals in Utah to merge Crisol with their events. In either case, Varela was excited to promote the arts and enhance the quality of life in Utah through the production of the Crisol Latin American Film Initiative.

Both Varela and Orrego have been approached about additional leadership opportunities within the Latin American and arts communities in Salt Lake. Verela has accepted a board member position on Utah’s chapter of the National Council of La Raza and will also be involved in the Utah Art Alliance’s Executive Planning Committee.

Missouri State

Brother Cody Stout was recently featured in an article than ran on USA Today’s college page. Stout, who was quoted about his Greek experience, had several insightful comments.

Stout described how he views his Greek experience in light of national controversies surrounding Greek life. “If I ever get any kind of negative feedback, I usually just steer the conversation in the direction of how many great things (Greek life) has done for the Springfield community,” says Stout. “I am constantly impressed with how our [Greek] community is able to come together.”

Missouri S&T

The Gamma Xi Chapter won the intramural flag football championship this past fall which capped a great year of intramurals.

Montana

Alumnus Brian Hutton (Gamma Phi 1918), a 2007 Montana graduate, received the Army Commendation Medal for Valor on September 10, 2013. Hutton received his commendation for action during May 4-7, 2013, while deployed in Afghanistan. Over these four days, Hutton’s team was engaged in eight different engagements with enemy forces. During these firefights, Hutton successfully led his team to complete their assigned missions.

Alumnus Rodney Draper was presented with the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor by Vice President Joe Biden on February 11. FBI Special Agent Draper was part of the hostage rescue team that saved 5-year-old Ethan Gillman who was kidnapped from a school bus and held in an underground bunker for five days. The incident made national news and ended with a successful raid and rescue of the boy. Along with Draper, four other agents were recognized.

The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor is the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer who exhibits “exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness, presence of mind and unusual swiftness of action, regardless of his or her personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect human life.”

Pull Quote: “Rodney Draper was presented with the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor by Vice President Joe Biden”

Montana State

The Zeta Nu Colony has doubled in size during the fall 2014 semester, from 11 to 24 members, and had the 2nd highest cumulative GPA of the seven fraternities on campus. Last year Zeta Nu had the 3rd highest cumulative GPA and won the fraternity award for Overall Excellence in Intramural Athletics from the 2014 Greek Awards Ceremony in the spring semester and completed 675 hours of community service over the year.

Mount Union

In early November, Beta Iota Chapter honored Brother George Weimer, longtime advisor to the Beta Iota Chapter, with a surprise party and the announcement of the George Weimer Sigma Nu Prize at Mount Union. This award will be given to the Commander of Beta Iota each year.

Additionally, the collegiate chapter members have purchased a brick in the Pathway of Honor at Sigma Nu Headquarters with Weimer’s name and badge number to honor his long-standing commitment to the chapter. Mount Union made a special tribute video that was shown at the surprise party.

New Hampshire

On April 11, the Iota Sigma Chapter hosted their 3rd annual Easter Egg Hunt. Brothers invited residents from all over the community to come enjoy the event and each participant was asked to donate a non-perishable food item.

The chapter was able to donate over 1,000 non-perishable food items to the St. Thomas Moore Parish’s food pantry (who also happens to be the chapter’s next door neighbor). They also gave away 1,000 eggs stuffed with candy to participants. Some lucky participants found prize tickets in their eggs and came away with great gifts, including one new bike!

The Iota Sigma Chapter is very happy with the turnout at this growing event and looks forward to seeing it grow in the years to come.

North Carolina State

On April 19, brothers of the Beta Tau Chapter hosted their annual head-shaving event to benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for childhood cancer research. So far, the chapter has raised nearly $20,000 for the foundation and several brothers have freshly shaven heads.

“Only 3 to 4 percent of the funding for general cancer goes towards childhood cancer, so we’re really trying to spread awareness of childhood cancer and get the word out,” said Brother Brett Birnberg to the student newspaper. “The hair – that’s temporary. The money can go toward a future, and that’s what we care about.”

This fall, Beta Tau Chapter hosted Mike Dilbeck (Texas Christian) who spoke to the chapter and other NC State student groups on the topic of responsible leadership and bystander intervention. Dilbeck is a nationally renowned speaker on the topics of leadership and the ability of individuals to prevent drug and alcohol abuse, hazing, sexual assault, and violence.

The title of the presentation was Response Ability: The Revolution in Courageous Leadership. During Mike’s presentation he discussed what it means to be a responsible leader, shared stories of his own experiences with leadership, and stories of students he has met throughout his career as a speaker.

Along with Beta Tau Chapter, many other student groups, fraternities, and sororities attended the event, and filled the 400 person auditorium. Many of the student groups were co-sponsors of the event and contributed to raising the $4,400 necessary to cover expenses for the event and venue.

The event was a huge success, and the chapter and fellow sponsors were all very pleased with the outcome of the program.

North Dakota

This fall, the Epsilon Kappa Alumni Advisory Board and newly elected collegiate officers held an all-day, off site transition retreat. The day consisted of reviewing expectations for the upcoming year, reviewing the roles and responsibilities of the new officer positions, and some basic training on leadership. There were also several communication and leadership activities facilitated by the alumni.

North Georgia

The Brothers of Kappa Chapter had the honor of welcoming the Gamma Omega Chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority onto the University of North Georgia’s campus at their chartering reception Saturday, April 11, by presenting them with a check of $213.

The Ladies of Delta Phi Epsilon won Sigma Nu’s Penny War Challenge by helping contribute over $112.50 in change, which Kappa Chapter matched by giving back fifty percent to go to the philanthropy of their choosing.

Northern Arizona

On March 28, Eta Iota hosted a 5k benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. The run was a great success and was captured on video by Brother Connor Swann. The camera work was especially innovative as it was filmed using a drone.

Northern Illinois

Theta Eta Commander Nathan Lupstein has been elected president of Northern Illinois University’s student body. “We’re really happy about the results of the election and we’re excited to start working with the students,” Lupstein told Northern Illinois’ student newspaper.

Alumnus Brett White, a private wealth advisor with Ameriprise Financial in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. was named to the list of “FT 400 US Financial Advisors 2015” published by the Financial Times. The annual list recognizes the most outstanding financial advisors who represent the highest levels of ethical standards, professionalism, and success in the business.

To receive the award, a wealth manager must meet six criteria associated with quality client service, client assets under management, professional designations, favorable regulatory history, online accessibility, and a minimum of ten years in the industry. The rankings are based on data provided by brokerage firms, private banks, registered investment advisers, and research by the Financial Times by over 1,500 of the nation’s most productive advisors.

Northwestern

On March 6-8, brothers and candidates of Gamma Beta Chapter teamed with Kappa Delta Sorority for the 41st Northwestern University Dance Marathon. The beneficiary of this year’s 30 hour event was the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which provides services to chronically ill children.

This was the second year Sigma Nu participated in the event since returning to campus and the second time partnering with Kappa Delta. The team raised nearly $10,000 more than last year with a total of $37,792 raised, second only to the team of Delta Delta Delta and Sigma Alpha Epsilon for medium sized groups. This year NUDM, raised over $1.1 million for Starlight, which hopes to build 10 Starlight Sites, places in hospitals for kids to play and socialize away from doctors, shots, IVs, and treatment areas.

Around 20 Sigma Nu brothers and candidates participated in the Dance Marathon, all of whom had to raise $400 to dance. Brothers Craig Herdle and Connor Smith organized the team throughout the year and pushed fundraising efforts alongside Samantha Sterling and Rae Onders of Kappa Delta.

Sigma Nu was extremely motivated after getting to know their hero Ella Joy and her family. Ella Joy suffers from stage 4 cancer, but is a bundle of energy. The chapter hosted a dinner for her and her family at the house to get to know her story and how Starlight has helped her. The team celebrated Block 9 of the marathon dancing with Ella Joy!

The chapter competed in weekly trivia challenges, a campus food competition called Top Chef, made a “Why We Dance” promotional video, went canning for money in Evanston, and contacted alumni for donations among other things. The chapter hosted Sigma Nuggets, a food philanthropy selling late night nuggets and fries, with nearly $2,500 raised for DM there. Several dancers also were involved in the organizing committees for the event.

The chapter will partner with Kappa Delta again in 2016 and hopes to improve its fundraising total again, this time hopefully snagging a first place trophy.

To open up the spring quarter, Gamma Beta Chapter invited two Northwestern University administrators for a presentation on language awareness. The brothers have different views on inclusion issues such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, political views, financial need, etc. and wanted to have an environment facilitated where opinions and feelings could be expressed to establish a stronger sense of brotherhood.

The chapter found the brotherhood inclusion session necessary because several brothers have expressed uncomfortable feelings about the words other brothers have said. It was important to hold this session because it raised awareness about the fact that even with good intentions, the impact of certain words on others may still be negative.

This is the first time Gamma Beta has held this brotherhood inclusion session; however, because of the session’s success and positive feedback, it hopes to hold it again in the future.

Brothers of Gamma Beta participating in the Northwestern Dance Marathon along with members of Kappa Delta and Ella Joy – a cancer patient and beneficiary of the Marathon.

Brothers of Gamma Beta participating in the Northwestern Dance Marathon along with members of Kappa Delta and Ella Joy – a cancer patient and beneficiary of the Marathon.

Northwestern State

Mu Rho had a car wash to help raise money for a friend of Mu Rho’s. Josh Walker, 19, was recently diagnosed with Burkitts Lymphoma and is now at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Josh is showing progress and has a great attitude and is staying positive. The car wash helped to raise $700 for his expenses.

Oregon

The Gamma Zeta Chapter of University of Oregon has recently acquired a chapter house and has started the process of moving in. A chapter house is a big commitment but as a growing chapter, Gamma Zeta felt the time was right.

The chapter was contacted by the president of Sigma Pi Fraternity — which needed to minimize expenses — about the possibility of moving into their house. Considering Gamma Zeta’s growing size and ambition, acquiring a house was a natural next step. There were a lot of people involved in the process, notably Dan McCarthy, Tony Green, Kevin Reusch, Charlie Ekblad, Spencer Timm, and Tyler Markgraff.

Pennsylvania

Brother Andrew Gegios was recently featured in The Daily Pennsylvanian for his work as the debate team coach for the Science Leadership Academy (SLA) a Philadelphia high school. Under Gegios’ leadership the team had great success by growing from 12 to 30 students and sending a pair of debaters to a national tournament.

Gegios holds four hours of debate practice per week at SLA and attends weekend tournaments with members of the team. However, the team’s increased dedication to debate has less to do with his own ambition and more to do with that of his students, Gegios told the paper.

Beta Rho Chapter had one of its most successful recruitment periods in recent memory, initiating a candidate class of 21 this past spring. Not only is this class large in size, but its members embody the ideals of Sigma Nu and have great ambition. They have already coordinated with other chapters and run multiple community service events. The class has a lot planned going forward.

In addition, the chapter has been well represented in campus leadership positions this year. Beta Rho’s former Recruitment Chair Joshua Chilcote served as the vice president of the Undergraduate Assembly, the representative branch of Penn’s student government. Devin Grossman served as the chair of the nominations and elections committee, which oversees the entire student government. Furthermore, former Treasurer Akhilesh Goswami served as the president of the International Affairs Association, the largest student organization on Penn’s campus.

Lastly, Beta Rho’s Scholarship Chairman Rahul Gupta has gone above and beyond his fraternal duties by founding Access Engineering, an organization that teaches engineering to less fortunate high school students in West Philadelphia. Commander Kevin Procopio and Brothers Vahid Hoshmand and Erik Kerkhoven have worked directly with Access Engineering as instructors in order to improve the education of those in need.

Penn State

Unfortunately, Delta Delta Chapter had to remove one of the large elm trees that stood on the property for many years. “After providing aesthetics and shade for many years, our big elm tree at the north end of the house came down, a victim of Dutch Elm disease,” said Ed Sidwell of Delta Delta’s House Corporation.

Penn College

The Nu Gamma Chapter at the Pennsylvania College of Technology hosted their 2nd annual Wounded Warrior 5k on November 15th and raised $500 for the organization. Even though it was a cloudy day, multiple people participated in the event.

The chapter is also hosting their 7th annual Car Show on May 2. This car show will have food and games such as, ladder golf, corn hole, and can jam. The chapter is expecting car dealerships and businesses to attend and donate prizes for the show. It is also expecting to have many students and the general public attend.

Nu Gamma Chapter also received the Greek Academic Achievement Award that is given to the fraternity with the highest overall GPA every year.

Philadelphia

On Sunday, December 7, 2014, brothers from the Mu Pi Chapter gathered on the campus of Philadelphia University to celebrate the chapter’s anniversary and to remember Brother Michael D. Heyer, (Mu Pi 2) who tragically passed away in late September 2014. The brothers welcomed alumni, guests, and family members including a visit from Santa Clause.

The chapter thanks the members of the Alumni Advisory Board for their help in sponsoring the event: Brothers Murdocc Saunders, Josh Toth, Chapter Advisor Keith Halpern, President of the Alumni Advisory Board Brian Dougherty, and President of the Mu Pi Alumni Chapter Dr. Sean P. Killion. In addition, the chapter also thanks Dr. Jason Lyons, Sigma Nu Educational Foundation Board member.

Rhodes

The Sigma Nu House Corporation of Memphis, legal owner of the Epsilon Sigma Chapter house located on Rhodes College grounds, was reinstated with the State of Tennessee in September 2014, after a 20-year period of inactivity. The Sigma Nu House Corporation of Memphis is working with the collegiate brothers of the Epsilon Sigma Chapter to develop a house improvement plan that includes repairs, renovations, and long-term maintenance.

Last fall, the Epsilon Sigma Chapter held a fish fry in memory of fallen brother, Virgil Starks. The philanthropy supported a scholarship fund and was a great success with music provided by The Flying Vs (Epsilon Sigma brothers) and the help of recent Chi-O sweetheart, Carolyn Starks, daughter of Virgil Starks.

Epsilon Sigma collaborated with the Delta Delta Delta Sorority to host the annual luau-fest celebration known as Sigma Luau as a joint philanthropic event. Three bands played during the afternoon while a Central BBQ food truck served lunch to those who bought tickets. The three bands were the Flying Vs, the Dumptruck Boys (consisting primarily of Epsilon Sigma brothers), and Live by Satellite (consisting of a Mu Beta brother) from Nashville, Tenn. Altogether, over $1,200 was donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Brother Bailey Kimmitt, former Commander (2013-2014), Brother Mason Levy, and Brother Andrew Tait have all been featured on Rhodes College’s front page this year. (www.rhodes.edu) Brother Mason Levy, graduating with a dual degree in physics and theatre, will be pursuing a masters in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech University.

NCAA athletes in Epsilon Sigma include Bailey Kimmitt (golf), Jimmie Stuckey (track), Nick Weng (football), Turner Kim (football), Jeremy Breddan (football), Sean Denby (football), Spencer Regelson (swimming), Jordan Williams (swimming), and Max Miller (swimming).

Rochester

Last fall, the Lambda Eta Chapter expanded on its annual hot wing eating contest and successfully raised over $1,000 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. The hot wing eating contest is in its fifth year and now includes ghost pepper sauce on the wings in both the regular and final rounds.

With well over 300 in attendance, Sigma Nu filled up three levels in the University of Rochester’s student union building, Wilson Commons. In addition to strong advertisement across social media and flyers, the chapter pitted entrants in a fundraising war against each other to win gift cards to local restaurants. This heated competition was especially successful in mobilizing the Greek community.

In the fall, the chapter plans to expand the event to include more activities and fundraising opportunities for non-entrants, as well as increase the number of people in the competition. The target for the 5th annual contest will be $1,500.

Several brothers have been selected for prestigious graduate school work. Brother James Maslek (Lambda Eta 342) has been accepted at the University of Maryland to pursue a Ph.D. in quantum physics. Brother Johnson Troung (Lambda Eta 343) has been accepted at Georgetown to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Lastly, Brother Dominick Schumacher (Lambda Eta 353) is captain of the University of Rochester varsity golf team.

Samford

Continuing with chapter tradition, Iota has many brothers participating in athletics this year. Iota football players included Warren Handrahan who handled primary place-kicking duties, Josh Killet who saw extensive action as a linebacker with 54 tackles on the season, Michael O’Neal who handled kick-off duty, and C.H. Scrugg who played in every Samford game as an offensive lineman. Iota also had ten other sophomore and freshman brothers on the football team.

Freshman Brother Alex Peters, a forward for the university’s basketball team, played in 31 of 32 of the team’s games. Sophomore Brother Chris Thrasher competed in pole vault for the Samford men’s track and field team. Brothers Josh Baker, Peyton Morris, Chase Owen, Matt Reid, and Hogan Whitmire were members of the Samford women’s basketball official practice team.

The chapter also partnered with Samford University and Samford Greek life and have agreed to sign the It’s On Us pledge to educate members about sexual assault and to take action against it.

San Jose State

Brother Veeral Sarhad was named Fraternity Man of the Year at San Jose State University. Brother Sarhad currently serves as the Commander of Zeta Iota and the vice president of philanthropy for San Jose State’s IFC.

Brother Veeral Sarhad was named Fraternity Man of the Year at San Jose State University. Brother Sarhad currently serves as the Commander of Zeta Iota and the vice president of philanthropy for San Jose State’s IFC.

Southern California

This past spring, Epsilon Omicron Chapter participated in the University of Southern California’s first wheelchair basketball tournament to bring awareness to disability access on campus. The chapter partnered with USC Trojan Pride and USC Undergraduate Student Government (USG) to make the tournament possible. Over 200 USC students participated in the event, including USG president Rini Sampath and USG vice president Jordan Fowler.

The Epsilon Omicron Chapter has strong ties to the USC Undergraduate Student Government, with several brothers having held leadership positions in the organization. Participating in the event helped reaffirm Epsilon Omicron’s strong commitment to giving back to the Trojan community.

As a chapter, Epsilon Omicron helped publicize the tournament on social media to help the new event attain high participation from USC students and other campus organizations. The team that the chapter fielded is proud to have helped make such a rewarding event possible. The chapter plans to continue working with the USC community to raise disability awareness and advocate for increased campus access for disabled Trojans

Southern Mississippi

Brothers of Theta Gamma with the women of Delta Gamma at Southern Mississippi after a laser tag social event.

Brothers of Theta Gamma with the women of Delta Gamma at Southern Mississippi after a laser tag social event.

Southern Poly

The Iota Pi Chapter at Southern Polytechnic State University is in an interesting position for the next year. Two universities, Kennesaw State University (KSU) and Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) have been merging over the last year after the Georgia Board of Regents ordered consolidation. The universities will be fully consolidated by the fall semester.

After hearing about the consolidation, several brothers of the SPSU chapter rose to leadership positions on campus. Brother Alex Harrington was elected as SGA president. Through this position he coordinated with consolidation groups to maintain a strong position for all students of SPSU going into the merger. As SGA president, Alex motivated students, worked on committees to consolidate varying aspects of the universities, helped organizations bridge the gaps with their counterparts, and put an emphasis on securing the traditions that are crucial at both institutions.

Alex also helped and encouraged Brother Andrew Benjamin to campaign for SGA senator of the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at the new university, and Andrew was successfully elected.

Brother Matt Lee, a current RA at SPSU, helped in the founding of the SPSU chapter of Cru and is its first president. Cru is a national collegiate Christian organization on several campuses whose mission is to enlighten students about Christ. When asked why Matt started the chapter he stated, “Throughout life we have opportunities to give back to the world and I do not want to live a life knowing that I could have done more for others.”  Matt Lee’s position is beneficial through the consolidation to show the values of the Iota Pi Chapter to both campuses, setting Iota Pi apart from the other organizations already in place at the new Kennesaw State University.

The IFC president, Brother David-Luc Graap, was reelected and additionally Brother Stephen Reed was elected IFC vice president of recruitment. Through these positions the Iota Pi Chapter can maintain a proactive position in the merger of Greek life at the new university. David-Luc served on the Greek life consolidation committee along with Reid Allen, Iota Pi’s Assistant Recruitment Chairman. David-Luc and Reid helped to consolidate the two universities’ IFC constitutions, bylaws, and recruitment rules. Both David-Luc and Reid will be serving as orientation leaders during summer orientation.

During the consolidation, Iota Pi continued to maintain their tradition of excellence on and off campus. Hosting their second annual Kathryn Whitlow Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Society, Iota Pi Chapter raised $23,000 to fund research for a cure. Iota Pi is the second largest chapter on SPSU’s campus and currently maintains the highest GPA among all IFC organizations. Iota Pi wishes to continue this tradition of excellence through the consolidation and bring a strong chapter to the new KSU that will grow as a major influence on and off campus.

To end the school year, Iota Pi wanted to secure a win in SPSU’s final Greek week. Iota Pi swept two full days of events and finished in the top three in every event. Iota Pi finished Greek week five points shy of a flawless score securing their 10th consecutive victory, what their chapter calls “The Nu Decade.” Several alumni attended the Greek Awards Ceremony to witness the momentous victory.

Chapter Advisor Jeff Post (Iota Pi 4) commented on the victory “After winning 18 of the first 20 Greek weeks, then a few more in between and finishing by winning the last ten in a row is a great achievement for the Sigma Nus of SPSU. The alumni of the Iota Pi family are very proud of the continuing tradition that was maintained over the last 38 years.” This pride in the Iota Pi tradition of dedication and hard work in everything they pursue will be a cornerstone in the development of a successful chapter at the new KSU.

At Kennesaw, Iota Pi will face many challenges. The average chapter size at KSU is 77 members, compared to Iota Pi’s 53 members. Most of Iota Pi is concentrated on the Marietta campus, focusing on engineering, while a majority of KSU’s student population is at the Kennesaw campus. Brothers were tasked with enrolling in courses at both campuses, engaging in leadership positions for the new university, and continuing to excel in chapter operations.

When asked, past Commander and Iota Pi Alumnus of the Year, Kris Vickers summarized the year and the chapter’s new position by saying that “Seeing the chapter win number ten as an alumnus is a great honor. Not only did they win by a record margin, but they still have that drive to be the best as the chapter did when I was active. There’s always room for growth, but I believe this event will recharge the Iota Pi Chapter and alumni alike and propel us into our new territory at Kennesaw State University.”

While the merger has been met with a multitude of reactions Iota Pi sees this as an opportunity to expand and grow. With their best foot forward and an open mind, Iota Pi hopes to continue their tradition of excellence at the new, consolidated Kennesaw State University.

Stanford

In an event titled “Defining Manhood: What Can Men at Stanford Do?” Stanford President John Hennessy and Vice Provost Harry Elam spoke at the Beta Chi house on March 10, along with Hoover Fellow Joseph Felter Ph.D. and Associate Professor of Sociology Robb Willer.

The panel concluded the “Fraternity engagement with gender issues: to know, to understand, to act” speaker series held by Beta Chi in collaboration with the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. The four-part series was designed to engage the fraternity and Stanford community members with gender issues. Sigma Nu decided to create the series following discussions in the fall about the role of fraternity members in sexual assault issues across campuses nationally.

Past Commander Patrick Cirenza moderated the event and prompted the discussion with questions, followed by questions from the audience. Next year, Stanford will offer a for-credit speaker series class at the Beta Chi chapter house.

Alabama Governor Issues Proclamation Honoring Sigma Nu

Alabama House Representative K.L. Brown read a proclamation on December 12, 2014, recognizing the chapters of Sigma Nu Fraternity in the state of Alabama. The proclamation, signed by Governor Robert Bentley, recognized the historic men’s fraternal organization as the only such group founded in direct opposition to hazing and rooted in the honor principle.

Earlier in 2014, Governor Bentley signed the proclamation declaring January 1, 2015 as “Sigma Nu Day” in Alabama. The proclamation was presented during a ceremony at 7:00 p.m. CT on the 11th floor of the Houston Cole Library on the Jacksonville State University campus.

Rep. Brown was joined by Sigma Nu alumni leadership including Sigma Nu Educational Foundation (SNEF) board member Ralph Moore (Jacksonville State), past High Council member Austin Landry (Louisiana Lafayette/Birmingham-Southern), and SNEF Chairman Joe Gilman (Morehead State/Georgia). Dr. William A Meehan, president of Jacksonville State University, was also in attendance.

The story behind the proclamation is a testament to the strong student leadership that has come to define Sigma Nu Fraternity. Commander Kenneth Smith, a political science major, originally proposed the idea to Rep. Brown. “I wanted to do something different to celebrate Sigma Nu and our Founders’ Day for 2015,” Kenneth said. “With everything going on in higher education right now I know elected officials and other public servants like to hear from younger college students.”

“This proclamation reaffirms the ideals Sigma Nu stands for at the campuses where we have chapters and in the communities where our alumni live,” Kenneth continued. “To some this might seem like merely words on a paper. But I’m glad I get to live out these high ideals and hold this brotherhood close to my heart.”

Stevens

The Stevens’ men’s volleyball team, which boasts the reigning Sigma Nu Athlete of the Year Chris Vaughan and eight other Sigma Nu brothers, is currently ranked #1 in the AVCA poll which ranks Division III volleyball. This is the first time the men’s volleyball team has been ranked #1 in program history.

Furthermore, the team finished the season with the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament for men’s volleyball. Stevens will host the tournament to be held April 18-26. In total, the Gamma Delta Chapter has 12 varsity athletes.

The chapter has had a very accomplished year. This spring, 16 candidates accepted bids. With these candidates, the Gamma Delta Chapter will be passing Gamma Delta 1400 less than six years after initiating Gamma Delta 1300.

Gamma Delta is especially proud of the achievements of its individual members. Brother Tyler Mackanin was awarded a maritime systems engineering master’s degree fellowship through the Department of Homeland Security.

Michael Cahill was selected as one of nine student volunteers for the Northeast Greek Leadership Association’s (NGLA) annual conference in Hartford, Conn. He helped with conference registration, introduced speakers, attended daily NGLA Conference staff meetings and monitored hotel hallways. Through this experience he learned about conference management and began understanding the magnitude of the national Greek-letter organization population. Most importantly, he started building a network with fellow fraternity and sorority students from all over the northeast, as well as higher education and fraternal professionals.

Past Commander Mark Scalzo and past Scholarship Chairman Anthony Montufar received scholarships from Order of Omega’s national office. Both have prominent positions in the Stevens’ Order of Omega chapter with Montufar serving as president and Scalzo as vice president. Also, Matt Daw is Order of Omega secretary.

Brother Michael Cahill accepted a job as a consultant in NYC for Protiviti, a risk and business consulting firm. Mark Scalzo accepted a job with Epic in Verona, Wisc., an electronic health record software company. Anthony Montufar accepted a job with JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Gamma Delta has 20 brothers graduating this spring term. Best wishes for future success to Brothers Michael Cahill, Chris Coyle, Matt Daw, Paul Dubuke, David Evans, Zachary Everett, Rob Galos, Tyler Mackanin, Mike Mccallion, Robert McLeod, Anthony Montufar, Luke Phillippi, Mark Scalzo, Dylan Schlosser, Ryan Seifert, Robert Skowronski, Dan Smith, Julian Torres, Nick Villa, and Ben Yurcisin.

Texas Tech

Brothers of Zeta Pi visiting Jing'an Temple in Shanghai, China, for spring break.

Brothers of Zeta Pi visiting Jing’an Temple in Shanghai, China, for spring break.

UC Davis

Zeta Xi has two NCAA collegiate athletes on the UC Davis baseball team: Daniel Gallagher and Elijah Ontiveros.

Brother Andrew Jones is working extensively with a committee to plan an Out of the Darkness walk to help raise awareness for sexual assault prevention.

UC San Diego

Since its inception on October 12, 1985, the Kappa Rho Chapter at UC San Diego has held the distinction of being the longest tenured fraternity on its campus. And now with 708 initiated members, Kappa Rho can boast that it has reached its 30th year anniversary with a celebration banquet that will take place on January 23, 2016.

Heading into Kappa Rho’s 30th year, the chapter had several notable accomplishments during the 2014-15 academic year.

Commander Blaid Burgess won President of the Year at UCSD’s Greek Awards on February 4, 2015. Emmanuel Lopez and Marco Rivera were also elected to UCSD’s IFC executive board. Lopez and Rivera will serve as the president and the vice president of service, respectively, for the 2015 calendar year.

During the week of October 20-24, 2014, Kappa Rho Chapter hosted their eighth annual philanthropy event, Trick or Treat for Hunger. With the help of the sororities at UCSD and the San Diego Community, over 4,400 cans of food (the highest amount ever) were donated to Mama’s Kitchen, a community-driven organization located in San Diego, that provides food to men, women, and children affected by AIDS or cancer.

Kappa Rho Chapter hosted a sexual assault prevention workshop on January 25 with the help of Delta Gamma and UCSD’s CARE (Campus Advocacy, Resources, and Education) at the Sexual Assault Resource Center.

Several brothers of Kappa Rho helped launch UCSD’s new Greek organization, GUIDE (Greeks United for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity). This new organization partners with the Greek Life staff and UC San Diego community centers to advocate for inclusive recruitment practices, education about social justice and EDI issues, while heightening awareness of culture and equity-minded leadership.

After a strong first several months of the 2014-15 school year, the brothers of Kappa Rho look forward to adding to the list of accomplishments as they continue to plan for their upcoming 30th anniversary celebration in the winter of 2016.

Valdosta State

Mu Nu Chapter of Sigma Nu is pleased to report recent accomplishments awarded to the chapter.

The chapter was recognized by Valdosta State University as Chapter of the Year in 2014, which it had received in 2013 as well. The university also recognized Mu Nu with the Chapter of Merit Award and Excellence in Academics and Scholarship.

Mu Nu was also recently awarded Student Organization of the Year by Lowndes County for the chapter’s community service work with the Keep Lowndes and Valdosta Beautiful Program.

Mu Nu won Greek week, marking the 3rd year in a row and 11th Greek week championship overall since the chapter was founded at VSU in 1996. The chapter also won the last men’s tug event at VSU in 2013 bringing to close a 40 year tradition at Valdosta State. Mu Nu was tug champion in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013.

The chapter participated in the VSU It’s On Us Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign in which two brothers helped make the PSA video, which was shown on campus at The Take Back the Night Sexual Assault Awareness Event.

Lastly, the Mu Nu Chapter currently has the largest IFC chapter on campus and are looking forward to another great academic year.

Villanova

Kappa Zeta has been the spearhead on campus for NOVADance (a dance marathon) to raise money for the B+ Foundation for pediatric cancer. In just its second year, NOVAdance raised over $102,000 to help families of those with pediatric cancer and provide research grants. Kappa Zeta raised over $17,000. The majority of the brothers are on the executive committee of the fundraiser and hope to make it bigger next year.

During Villanova’s annual Greek awards, Kappa Zeta took home the awards for Recruitment, Chapter Operations and Chapter of the Year. In addition to these three awards, Kappa Zeta was nominated for almost every other category.

Virginia Wesleyan

The brothers of Iota Beta at the Rock before initiating seven new knights into the chapter.

The brothers of Iota Beta at the Rock before initiating seven new knights into the chapter.

Washington

The brothers of Gamma Chi Chapter attended a career night featuring several distinguished chapter alumni from various fields. The event was a huge success, with an excellent keynote speech by Don James, the executive vice president of operations for Nintendo. The night also featured a Q&A panel during which the chapter was able to ask questions of the alumni, as well as sessions hosted by each alumnus individually which focused on their specific career fields, allowing each brother to gain insight into the field he is interested in.

A panel of alumni address the collegiate chapter during Gamma Chi’s career night.

A panel of alumni address the collegiate chapter during Gamma Chi’s career night.

Washington and Lee

This winter, Lambda Chapter supported the largest collegiate team for Washington & Lee’s Relay for Life campaign. Lambda Chapter has been participating in this event for over a decade, consistently showing support for the American Cancer Society and its cause.

Led by co-captains Socrates Manzoni and Bryce Zaremby, Lambda Chapter added 30 new members to its team, making it the largest at Washington & Lee University. The relay event is scheduled for May 14.

Lambda Chapter is extremely interested in community service and the advancement of just causes which exemplify the ideals of Sigma Nu. Helping with the battle against cancer through programs such as Relay for Life is a natural extension of not only the individual interests of the members of Lambda Chapter, but also the pursuits of Sigma Nu’s national organization as a whole.

Executive committee members of the Lambda Chapter took an active role in recruiting members for the team as well as seeking donations to support the cause. The chapter is close to hitting its $2,500 goal for this particular event and plans on continuing its support of the American Cancer Society in the future.

West Texas A&M

This fall, Eta Delta Chapter started a campaign for Pencils of Promise, an organization dedicated to furthering education of children in Guatemala, Ghana, Honduras, and Laos.

So far, Eta Delta has hosted one event, a bake sale, and collected $451 for Pencils of Promise. The campaign is expected to last two years.

A candidate of Eta Delta Chapter, Julio Agustin Vaca, brought the initiative to the chapter’s attention, and the chapter decided to start the campaign. The chapter reached out to faculty and staff of West Texas A&M University and is promoting the campaign through social media. For more information about the campaign visit fundraise.pencilsofpromise.org/sigmanu.

West Virginia

This year Gamma Pi has been a leader of changes on campus ever since Greek life was put on moratorium in November. The school ended the moratorium and Gamma Pi welcomed the new semester with its innovative bubble ball philanthropy. This philanthropy had participation from every sorority and was attended by university President Gordon Gee. The philanthropy made front page news in the Daily Athenaeum in Morgantown.

Gamma Pi has won every sorority’s philanthropy during this semester, including the Chi-Olympics and Kappa bowling.

Continuing Gamma Pi’s tradition of leading change, the chapter was the only fraternity on campus to participate in the Dance Marathon where it raised $755.

Gamma Pi is also the only fraternity represented on the sexual assault advocates panel. This is a school organization of trained sexual assault peer advocates who help the victims of sexual assault and abuse cope with the aftermath. The panel will also discuss male perspectives on healthy masculinity as it relates to sexual assault prevention. Brother Chad Felix will represent the chapter on the panel that only consists of three male students.

Gamma Pi brothers hold most of the IFC executive board positions, have the top two leadership positions in the military honor society, and five brothers in SGA. Along with four brothers in ROTC, and many other leadership positions all over campus, Gamma Pi has proven to be a chapter of leaders in both Greek life and on campus.

Brother Casey Henderson will be commissioned as an officer in the Air Force at the end of this semester and has earned a pilot slot. Brother Jon Salazar will commission as an officer in the Army at the end of next semester.

Gamma Pi held a benefit concert to help raise funds for two brothers fighting cancer. The Steve Smith Band played for the concert, which was open to the public in addition to all Greek organizations. Brothers sold tickets and proceeds went directly to the families.

Western Kentucky

This year, Eta Rho Chapter and Phi Mu were partnered together for homecoming and instead of spending a large amount of money building a parade float, money was instead donated to the Buddy House of Bowling Green, Ky. The Buddy House is a local organization dedicated to helping individuals with autism. During the homecoming parade, the buddies rode along on the float in a show of solidarity with the Greek chapters and the Buddy House.

Brothers Hayden DeLozier, Tyler Megargel, and Allan Moreno participated in Walk A Mile in Her Shoes hosted by WKU’s IFC to bring awareness to sexual assault. All money raised stays in the Bowling Green area to help women who have been affected by sexual assault, rape, and gender violence.

The chapter raised $15,000 to dedicate the chapter house’s front porch in honor of two alumni that have entered Chapter Eternal. Both captains in the Marine Corps, Todd Travis and Roger Hinkle were honored with a plaque on the front port of the Eta Rho chapter home. Travis passed away while in service off the Mediterranean Sea in 1989 and Hinkle passed in 2014.

Eta Rho’s spring candidate class (seated, front) with members of the chapter (standing).

Eta Rho’s spring candidate class (seated, front) with members of the chapter (standing).

William Jewell

Brother Ron Kelley (William Jewell) was recently nominated for the Collegiate Wrestling Hall of Fame for his four years of undefeated collegiate wrestling during the late 1950s. Brother Kelley also serves as division commander in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary for the district covering Lake of the Ozarks, St. Joseph, Independence, and Springfield, Mo.

Sidebar: Cal State Fullerton at 25

At the end of the fall, Lambda Upsilon celebrated its 25th anniversary. At the celebration, the chapter raised over $4,000 in pledges to the Lambda Upsilon scholarship account. The chapter would especially like to thank Vice Regent Jordan Wu (Cal Poly Pomona), Joe Baxter, and Joe Lopez for participating and supporting the event as well.

“Having the opportunity to reconnect to our alumni base, especially our founding fathers has created momentum for our chapter. Alumni relations have improved drastically leading to better chapter morale,” said Lambda Upsilon Reporter Gustavo Flores speaking about the event.

During last fall’s Five Star Awards Ceremony – an award banquet for Fullerton fraternities and sororities – the brothers of Lambda Upsilon took home the Educational Program of the Year, Community Relations Program of the Year, and Alumni Relations Program of the Year. Brother Alexander Foy also received Greek Man and Greek Leader of the Year.

Brothers of the Lambda Upsilon Chapter recite the Creed together at the chapter’s 25th anniversary celebration.

Brothers of the Lambda Upsilon Chapter recite the Creed together at the chapter’s 25th anniversary celebration.

 

Conversation

History from The Delta

25 Years Ago

Coaches of the Year 1989-90

Pat Riley
1989-90 proved to be a banner year for Sigma Nus in head coaching positions in professional sports. The National Football League Coach of the Year Award went to second-year Green Bay Packer coach, Lindy Infante (Florida), while Pat Riley (Kentucky), the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, captured the National Basketball Association Coach of the Year Award. Their achievements exemplify the leadership for which Sigma Nu is constantly striving; each man has reached the pinnacle of success in his respective sport — and in the same year!

Larry Infante

50 Years Ago

Progress Report

An encouraging trend among national fraternities generally is the steady increase in the number of new chapters and members. About 65,000 young men took the vows of a fraternity initiate during 1964-65, and of these 2,511 we claimed as Brothers in Sigma Nu. The year brought the total all-time membership, living and dead, of national college fraternities to more than 2,225,000.

100 Years Ago

Installation at Idaho

A group of undergraduates, known as the Zeta Delta Fraternity, at the University of Idaho, has been granted a charter empowering it to organize a Chapter of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. The favorable vote of the Division was registered on May 26, 1914. The formal petition was promulgated on January 10, 1915, and the favorable vote was recorded on March 18, 1915.

Idaho Chapter House in 1915

The petition of this group was so strongly approved and the field of growth seemed so desirable that the Fraternity gave it an almost unanimous endorsement. The new group, to be known as Delta Omicron Chapter, enters the Brotherhood, therefore, under very promising and auspicious circumstances. We extend it a cordial welcome, confident that it will not disappoint its friends, but will grow into a secure place of helpful service among our sisterhood of strong and self-reliant Chapters.

General Fraternity Staff Changes

Adam Bremmeyer

Adam Bremmeyer (Washington State).

Veteran staff member Adam Bremmeyer (Washington State) departed the General Fraternity staff team in March after four years of dedicated service. During his tenure with the General Fraternity, Adam served as Director of Expansion and Recruitment where he worked to revitalize the fraternity’s colony petitioning process and played a central role recruiting future Knights for 14 different expansion projects, including two that went on to become Rock Chapters. Bremmeyer also served as an Expansion and Recruitment Consultant and Leadership Consultant.

Adam is now residing in central Washington with his wife and infant daughter where he works as a finance manager for a real estate company.

Geoff Doran

Geoff Doran (Drury).

Sigma Nu Educational Foundation staff member Geoff Doran (Drury) began a new phase of his career journey in March after four years with the Educational Foundation. Doran joined the SNEF staff in January 2011, where he served as Director of Development and was vital in the success of the 1869 Club. Brother Doran is now pursuing entrepreneurship full-time.

Ben Nye (Arkansas) concluded his four-year tenure with the Headquarters Staff team in June. Brother Nye served as Associate Director of Communications where he edited and wrote for The Delta and managed the Fraternity’s social media accounts. Nye also served for six semesters as a Leadership Consultant.

Ben Nye

Ben Nye (Arkansas).

Ben is now enrolled at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Leadership Consultant Matt Miller (Mount Union) has completed his two year tenure. While serving as a consultant, Miller worked with Sigma Nu chapters in the West Region, was a facilitator at College of Chapters, and was primary staff liaison to the Appeals and Grievances Committee at the 66th Grand Chapter in Nashville, Tenn.

Matt Miller (Mount Union).

Matt Miller (Mount Union).

Drew Logsdon (Western Kentucky) has taken over as Associate Director of Communications after four years of service as Associate Director of Risk Reduction. Leadership Consultant Tyler Richter (South Florida) is now serving as Associate Director of Risk Reduction.

Drew Logsdon

Drew Logsdon (Western Kentucky).

Tyler Richter

Tyler Richter (South Florida).

Consultants

This June saw the arrival of four new Leadership Consultants who will begin their travels in August. Zach Eisenman, Raymond Fackler, Travis Galloway, and Shekhar Hazarika will continue as consultants for a second year.  

Mark Gockowski (Kent State) graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism and served the Zeta Gamma Chapter as Commander, Recorder, Alumni Relations Chairman, and IFC delegate. He also was on the IFC executive committee and served on the Chapter Eternal Committee at the 66th Grand Chapter.

Mark Gockowski

Mark Gockowski (Kent State).

James House (UC Santa Barbara) graduated with a degree in political science and served the Kappa Eta Chapter as a three-term Commander. House also worked in the Greek affairs office and was a member of the Ritual Committee at the 66th Grand Chapter.

James House (UC Santa Barbara).

James House (UC Santa Barbara).

Evan Winebarger (Georgia Southern) graduated with a degree in therapeutic recreation and served as Commander and candidate class president of the Theta Kappa Chapter. Winebarger also served as an IFC liaison and has worked as a business productivity advisor for Microsoft and N3 Results.

Evan Winebarger (Georgia Southern).

Evan Winebarger (Georgia Southern).

Alex Retzloff (Washington and Lee) graduated with a degree in history from Washington and Lee where he served as Treasurer and Commander of the Lambda Chapter.

Alex Retzloff (Washington and Lee).

Alex Retzloff (Washington and Lee).

Fire at Headquarters

In the early morning hours of February 27, the shed containing maintenance equipment and heating, cooling, and electrical services to the Headquarters Shrine caught fire. The fire, caused by an electrical wire malfunction, rendered the shed and all its contents completely unsalvageable. This left Headquarters without power, heating and cooling. Temporary systems were put in place to provide heat and electrical services, and currently work is being completed on a permanent structure to house new heating and cooling equipment.

Fire Damage

From the Editor

Values are Baked In

In the latest issue of The Delta we’re pleased to present a collection of feature stories that highlight four brothers we can all be proud of.

We start with a duo of young upstarts whose entrepreneurial acumen helped them found two remarkably successful companies at early ages. Andy Katz-Mayfield (Duke) and his co-founder set out to make Harry’s the go-to online retailer for men’s shaving products that would dethrone the overpriced legacy brands. With equally ambitious goals, tech startup DataRank, founded by Ryan Frazier (Arkansas), uses complex algorithms to help Fortune 500 companies make decisions about products and consumer insight. Both companies have earned the attention of venture capitalists, with investors lining up to facilitate their growth.

Our third feature story chronicles the career of another successful entrepreneur, though one who’s been in business longer than Harry’s and DataRank combined. Bill Watson (Stetson) founded Watson Realty Corp. in 1965 and now operates 43 real estate offices and 29 property management offices in Florida and Georgia. This year Watson Realty Corp. celebrates 50 years, the longevity for which Bill attributes to the company’s reputation for sound ethics and legendary quality of service.

Upon first glance our food-themed cover feature may seem out of place next a series of stories about successful entrepreneurs. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll realize why a high-functioning professional pastry chef demands many of the same traits required of successful startup founders. As Dwayne Ingraham (Southern Mississippi) demonstrates on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, achieving success in the hyper-competitive restaurant world requires the same commitment to clear vision, strong leadership, and thinking fast under pressure.

When you read each of these feature stories you’ll notice one other thing they all have in common: each one traces career origins back to their Sigma Nu experience. Andy Katz-Mayfield speaks to the importance of surrounding yourself with people who share your vales. Ryan Frazier credits his chapter with fostering an energizing culture that provided positive role models. To this day Bill Watson remains thankful for the emphasis his chapter placed on excelling in the classroom. Dwayne Ingraham was inspired to attend culinary school thanks to one of his fellow candidates; another chapter brother accompanied him on the 22-hour drive from Mississippi to Vermont where his culinary career began.

We hope you enjoy these stories and the rest of the Summer 2015 issue. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for stories we should consider in a future issue.

Yours in Sigma Nu,

Nathaniel Clarkson (James Madison)
Managing Editor

SN_theDelta_2015_Sum_P3_Cover

 

 

The Hunger Games

How does one possibly prepare for the Hunger Games of food shows where organizers can change the rules on a whim? “Trust your knowledge, trust your skillset, and keep things simple.”

How does one possibly prepare for the Hunger Games of food shows where organizers can change the rules on a whim? “Trust your knowledge, trust your skillset, and keep things simple.” Photo courtesy of Food Network.

By Nathaniel Clarkson (James Madison)

If you’ve never watched Cutthroat Kitchen until now the Food Network’s hit show is perhaps best summarized by one former contestant: “Cutthroat Kitchen is so much harder than you think it is. Take what you know about cooking, then take away some limbs, take away your cooking tools – it’s not easy. It’s about how resourceful you are, how clever you are.”

The episode begins when host and Food Network megastar Alton Brown introduces the contestants.

Chef Stef from Brooklyn.

Chef Ben from Indianapolis.

Chef Jackie from New Jersey.

And Sigma Nu’s own Chef Dwayne Ingraham, representing Oxford, Miss. “I’m here on Cutthroat Kitchen to show everyone a small-town southern boy can make it in the big leagues.”

Before each round contestants have 60 seconds to shop for everything they’ll need. What Alton calls “shop” is better characterized as a stampede to a fully-loaded pantry where contestants jockey for position to grab as many items as they can carry. When the free-for-all ends Alton shuts the doors and the contestants return to their station and attempt to formulate a recipe from the ingredients they grabbed from the pantry.

Next comes the auctions. Each of the four competing chefs receive an equal share of $100,000 in cash that’s stored on set in a silver suitcase. The contestants use this money to bid on auction items that will sabotage other contestants. The catch is that they only leave the show with the money they have remaining – and that’s only if they win.

Host Alton Brown can’t hide his delight in the various ways the contestants are about to be tormented. “In a game where sabotage is not only encouraged, it’s also for sale.”

Round 1 begins. Each chef must make a molten lava cake with whatever ingredients they happened to grab from the pantry.

No sooner than the chefs get started with their game plan for Round 1, Alton tosses the first curve ball.

The first package of items up for auction is a dozen roses, a wine flute, and an empty box of chocolates. The winner of this auction can require his opponents to forfeit all of their utensils and vessels in return for the three items.

Dwayne wins the first auction and forks over $6300 of his $25,000 for the luxury of baking with real utensils and mixing bowls. His opponents aren’t so lucky. Chef Jackie must stir her cake mix in the cheap plastic that comes with grocery store flowers; Chef Ben gets to stir his mix in a wine flute; and Chef Stef gets a flimsy box of chocolates in place of a mixing bowl.

Before the contestants proceed any further Alton announces the next auction, and it’s not good. The winner of this one gets to confiscate one opponent’s chocolate. That means no chocolate to make a chocolate molten lava cake. Dwayne being the skilled and savvy chef that he is realizes he has enough cocoa from the ingredients he grabbed from the pantry and decides to let this one go. Chef Ben wins the auction and predictably takes Dwayne’s chocolate.

At this point things are going well for Dwayne – that is, as well as they could be, all things considered. His opponents are baking with significant handicaps. Meanwhile, Dwayne’s weathered the storm by improvising the chocolate flavor with cocoa, flour, and sugar.

Right when things are going well Alton throws another auction that forces two contestants to hold hands for the rest of the round. Dwayne smartly passes on the bidding because his cake is nearly ready for the oven. He’s tethered with Chef Stef, but no harm done as Dwayne is well prepared for the obstacle.

5…4…3…2…1. Round 1 ends and Alton brings out celebrity chef Simon Majumdar to judge the molten lava offerings.

Simon runs down the line, sampling each one and offering his comments. The drama builds as Simon determines who to eliminate.

He zeroes in on Stef’s molten lava cake that’s missing a key characteristic: the lava. Simon sends Chef Stef packing; three chefs remain going into Round 2.

***

On a typical day Dwayne arrives at work by 7:00 a.m. and promptly begins reviewing prep lists from six different restaurants that operate under City Grocery. Dwayne and his team review all the orders received overnight and account for how much each store sold the previous day.

They also stay busy providing catering for offsite events. During college football season, this means fulfilling hundreds of orders for tailgates, including The Grove – one of college football’s most renowned tailgating locations.

When ESPN’s nationally-televised College Gameday visited Oxford for the Ole Miss vs. Alabama game last fall, Dwayne didn’t go home from Thursday morning until Saturday afternoon. One of Dwayne’s two assistants had just left, leaving him down a man on the busiest weekend of the year. “You just learn to do what you need to do,” he says, reflecting on that hectic weekend.

On the day I spoke with Dwayne he was prepping for a party of 145 people. “After reviewing the prep lists we start attacking the day,” he says. On top of preparing bulk orders for parties and other catered occasions, Dwayne has to prepare orders for the restaurant where he works, which opens at 11:00 a.m.

I asked Dwayne how he ended up at City Grocery in Oxford – the idyllic college town home to the University of Mississippi that’s built a reputation for its thriving restaurant scene. “I was in Las Vegas at the time,” he recalls. It was 2010 and John Currence, City Grocery’s owner, posted a job opening on the alumni page for the culinary school Dwayne attended. At the time Dwayne was putting his time in as a line chef at Wynn Las Vegas casino-hotel. The work was grueling, but a necessary part of learning to run a restaurant. Dwayne was ready to make the jump to full-time pastry chef and applied for the job. The two connected immediately through common geography. John was from New Orleans, and Dwayne was from nearby Boothville, La. “John went fishing in my hometown,” Dwayne recalls.

Each of the four competing chefs receive an equal share of $100,000 in cash that’s stored on set in a silver suitcase. The contestants use this money to bid on auction items that will sabotage other contestants. The catch is that they only leave the show with the money they have remaining – and that’s only if they win.

Each of the four competing chefs receive an equal share of $100,000 in cash that’s stored on set in a silver suitcase. The contestants use this money to bid on auction items that will sabotage other contestants. The catch is that they only leave the show with the money they have remaining – and that’s only if they win. Photo courtesy of Food Network.

John asked him to prepare six dishes and Dwayne flew in for the tasting. He remembers feeling nervous at the time, but he was ready for the test. To prepare for the interview, Dwayne conducted tastings with friends in the weeks leading up to the trial. “Friends came over and I went through my repertoire once a week. They gave me scorecards, told me what they liked and didn’t like. I used that feedback to tweak my options. This helped me decided what to prepare for the interview in Oxford.”

***

Dwayne grew up liking to bake, but he says the chef skills came later. “When you grow up in a small town you don’t realize that being a chef is an option for you. Local restaurants were all mom and pop, operated out of necessity. My husband is a fisherman, so we’ll open a restaurant to sell his fish. This is how most people approached it.”

When Dwayne decided to attend University of Southern Mississippi his mom worked with a lady whose son was Commander of the Theta Gamma Chapter at the time. “Every time I visited campus Kenny showed me around. When I arrived for orientation they all showed up to help me move in,” he remembers.

Dwayne got the idea to attend culinary school thanks to one of his candidate brothers at Theta Gamma Chapter. Gerald Peralta was planning to attend culinary school and Dwayne realized he would enjoy pursuing the same track. “As soon as I took a baking class I knew that was what I wanted to do,” he remembers.

Dwayne eventually left Hattiesburg for the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt. Another one of Dwayne’s Theta Gamma candidate brothers, Markus Jones, accompanied him on the 22-hour drive to Montpelier, which sits about 70 miles from the Canadian border. They took turns driving for two days, taking a nighttime detour through Lexington to visit the Headquarters Shrine on the way to Vermont.

“Growing up in Mississippi, Vermont was an interesting place,” Dwayne recalls. “I was nervous about moving there, but Vermont ended up being a chill place.” The main difference he noticed at first was the lack of deep fried food. “It’s more of an agricultural-focused area. They believe in sustainability.”

“The only thing I didn’t care for much was the snowfall – I wasn’t prepared for New England winter.”

Dwayne went straight to Las Vegas after completing culinary school. The restaurant scene in Vegas was quickly building a highly regarded reputation, and Dwayne knew there would be good opportunities for him out there. Dwayne was eager to escape the cold weather, so naturally it snowed his first winter in Las Vegas.

***

Round 2

Back in the Food Network studio, Alton Brown delivers the next challenge for the remaining contestants.

Each chef has 30 minutes to make a savory chocolate dish.

Dwayne is immediately concerned by his lack of experience with savory cooking. “My world comes crashing down,” he shares with the confessional camera. “I have not done any savory cooking in my professional career.”

But Dwayne keeps his cool, relying on the same calm and steady approach that guided him through the first round. “What I learned from the last round was to keep things simple and classic,” he says. “Trust the flavor profiles to make things elevated on the palate. So my plan for this round is to make a simple summer salad.”

When the timer starts the three remaining contestants repeat their stampede to the kitchen pantry. Dwayne returns to his cooking station when he realizes he left the pantry without grabbing a protein.

Chef Jackie wins the first auction and forces Dwayne to somehow incorporate a hunk of halibut with his chocolate savory dish. The chef from New Jersey makes it clear she hasn’t forgotten Dwayne stealing all her utensils in Round 1. “Chef Dwayne is the target,” she says with pleasure.

When the camera pans to Dwayne he looks nervous, but he stays optimistic. “You know what? I may be a pastry chef, but I’m still a chef. I can find a way to make this work.”

Simon returns to judge the dishes. “Combining fish with chocolate is brave,” he says, as if Dwayne had a choice. Unfortunately Dwayne’s halibut is slightly overcooked and Simon notices right away. Things aren’t looking good for Chef Dwayne right now.

Simon samples the remaining dishes and offers the usual pros and cons for each one.

No one entered the judging session with more confidence than Chef Ben. But things quickly go downhill for the tattooed chef from Indianapolis as it turns out his chilaquiles recipe was too sweet for what was supposed to be a savory dish.

Simon eliminates Chef Ben, leaving Dwayne and Jackie to compete for the final round.

***

The process for getting on Cutthroat Kitchen started with a Facebook message. The casting company contacted Dwayne because they wanted to shoot a specialty episode devoted to chocolate. “I was honored they asked me to apply,” he says. Dwayne completed the application and agreed to a Skype interview with the Food Network team. A few weeks later Dwayne learned he had made the show.

Dwayne got the idea to attend culinary school thanks to one of his candidate brothers at Theta Gamma Chapter. “As soon as I took a baking class I knew that was what I wanted to do.” Photo by Steven Rosen/http://www.stevenrosenphotography.com/

Dwayne got the idea to attend culinary school thanks to one of his candidate brothers at Theta Gamma Chapter. “As soon as I took a baking class I knew that was what I wanted to do.” Photo by Steven Rosen/www.stevenrosenphotography.com.

They shot the episode on August 19, the day before Dwayne’s birthday. They flew the contestants to Los Angeles and covered meals and lodging. All clips were taped the following day.

A single episode of Cutthroat Kitchen takes 14 hours to film. During this time they film three challenges in the studio kitchen as well as the personal interviews with each contestant, often referred to as the “confessional camera.” The format of the show is designed in a way that encourages the contestants to sabotage each other – hence the name Cutthroat Kitchen.

How does one possibly prepare for the Hunger Games of food shows where organizers can change the rules on a whim? Dwayne’s approach was much different from the preparation for his interview with City Grocery. “I did nothing,” he says. “I didn’t want to overanalyze. I didn’t want to get stuck in a rigid game plan. I just told myself, Trust your knowledge, trust your skillset, and keep things simple.

Professional chefs, it turns out, are not programmed bots trained to perform the same task over and over. ‘Cutthroat’ contestants have to be skilled multitaskers, stirring a molten lava cake mix while managing their budget to bid on items in real time. “You have to think fast on the show,” Dwayne says, not unlike a typical day in the restaurant.

Cutthroat Kitchen offers useful advice for non-chefs, too. Regular watchers of Food Network shows have witnessed the brutally honest feedback contestants receive from judges. “I feel like my job prepared me for that direct form of feedback,” Dwayne says. Though the feedback can be uncomfortable to watch, Dwayne says the producers find a happy medium between good television and staying positive all the same. “Their goal was never to make anyone look stupid or incompetent. At its core, Food Network is about good-natured entertainment.”

Dwayne sees direct feedback as a necessary part of developing and becoming better all the time, a critical lesson for any career. “I can’t grow if people only tell me everything tastes good.”

***

Final Round

It’s down to two: Jackie vs Dwayne, New Jersey vs. Oxford, Miss.

They’re given a half-hour to make a box of chocolates. Easy enough, Dwayne thinks. “I’m ecstatic because this is right up my alley.”

During his 60 seconds in the pantry, Dwayne grabs dark chocolate, white chocolate, oranges, peanut butter, and graham crackers. When he returns to his cooking station he realizes he’s forgotten heavy cream – a critical ingredient for truffles. “Such a rookie mistake,” he concedes to the confessional camera. “You can’t make truffle centers without heavy cream. I’m so screwed.” Or is he? We’re about to find out.

Alton announces the first auction of the third round, the opportunity to force your opponent to forfeit all ingredients and rely on what’s inside a giant mystery box of chocolates. Dwayne wins with a bid of $9,000, which is $100 more than the total amount Jackie has remaining. Dwayne’s strategy of conserving funds in the first two rounds pays off. Jackie is left reaching into mystery vats of chocolate to find her ingredients – a scene reminiscent of Nickelodeon’s 1990s classic, Double Dare.

Direct feedback is a necessary part of developing and becoming better all the time, a critical lesson for any career. “I can’t grow if people only tell me everything tastes good.”

Realizing his error in forgetting heavy cream, Dwayne thinks fast and decides to make his own variation of s’mores with the graham crackers and white chocolate for marshmallow.

With two minutes remaining the drama is starting to build. Dwayne doesn’t flinch. “I didn’t come here to go home second. I came here for it all. I want to prove to the South that we can compete with the big cities.”

Jackie ends up making truffles with dried apricots, raspberry, strawberry, and jalapeno. Her cooking station looks like a disaster zone from all the spilled chocolate.

Simon enters the studio kitchen for a final time and remarks on Jackie’s station. “The presentation isn’t pretty, but the truffles are actually delicious.”

Dwayne is concerned about the lack of variety in his offerings for Simon. Jackie had four varieties, but he only has one. “I really could be in trouble here.”

“The presentation is really good. You’re obviously really skilled. The graham cracker was a terrific idea.” Simon is clearly impressed with Dwayne’s s’mores idea, but his final decision is still up in the air.

“You’ve given me a tough decision, but I’m going to have to give the win to…Chef Dwayne.”

Dwayne celebrates the victory with his signature grin. He dances in the studio kitchen in a blizzard of dollar bills falling from the sky. “I just won Cutthroat Kitchen! Can you believe that?!”

***

“How was the fish and chocolate?”

Dwayne says this is one of the most common questions he gets about the episode. “I didn’t realize how exciting the show would be for other people,” he says. “I did it because I thought it would be fun and shed some light on City Grocery. It ended up being a good opportunity to test my skills against big city chefs. I was surprised by how excited people got about it.”

“The other day I was dropping pastries off and some lady gave me a hug.”

Dwayne, right, plans to use his winnings from Cutthroat Kitchen for the wedding he’s planning with his partner, Jeff. Pictured here before a recent LSU at Ole Miss football game.

Dwayne, right, plans to use his winnings from Cutthroat Kitchen for the wedding he’s planning with his partner, Jeff. Pictured here before a recent LSU at Ole Miss football game.

As for the winnings, Dwayne knew right away where he would put the money. “I’m going to set some aside for this wedding I’ve been planning for about a year now.”

Dwayne’s rise to Food Network prominence is impressive, but it was no surprise to those who have followed his path. Markus Jones, Dwayne’s Theta Gamma brother who drove with him from Mississippi to Vermont, knew Dwayne was on his way to something big. “Despite his fear of the unknown, Dwayne had no hesitation about his decision,” he recalls from the 1500-mile drive they took together. “As I look back on that trip, it was obvious Dwayne knew exactly what he was doing and was clearly on a mission to reach his goal of being a pastry chef.”

An Authentic Shave

The partnership between Andy Katz-Mayfield (Duke), right, and Jeff Raider was a natural fit after they met interning at the same Boston management consulting firm. They worked together at several companies and shared similar passions for designing quality products. “We have a very strong value alignment,” says Katz-Mayfield.

The partnership between Andy Katz-Mayfield (Duke), right, and Jeff Raider was a natural fit after they met interning at the same Boston management consulting firm. They worked together at several companies and shared similar passions for designing quality products. “We have a very strong value alignment,” says Katz-Mayfield. 

A startup founder’s quest for an authentic shave and values-driven entrepreneurship.

By Ben Nye (Arkansas)
Interview by Markus Jones (Southern Mississippi)
Photos courtesy of Harry’s

ANDY Katz-Mayfield (Duke) waited patiently for a drug store attendant to unlock the display case holding razor cartridges. A full ten minutes passed before the attendant came with a key allowing Katz-Mayfield to select his razors. After adding shaving cream, the cash register showed $25 for the cartridge of razor blades. “I wasn’t buying jewelry, I was buying razor blades,” says Andy Katz-Mayfield. “I knew I was getting taken advantage of as a consumer and thought it was pretty ridiculous to spend that much but there was no alternative.”

That day at the drug store proved a turning point for Katz-Mayfield. He walked out of the store and phoned friend Jeff Raider who, at the time, was an executive at online eyewear startup Warby Parker. Katz-Mayfield pitched Raider an idea for a new company that could manufacture inexpensive, high quality razors that could be sold directly to consumers online. So began Harry’s.

What started with Katz-Mayfield’s frustrated customer experience has now grown into a men’s grooming company of over 100 employees with a backing of over $200 million in investor capital. Equally impressive is Harry’s 2014 acquisition of a German factory that will allow it to take on men’s shaving industry leaders like Schick and Gillette. With the factory, Harry’s is producing and shipping their razors to its nationwide, online customer base.

Long before setting out to create a new razor company, Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider had solidified their relationship. During their undergraduate days, Katz-Mayfield at Duke and Raider at Johns Hopkins, both interned at the Boston management consulting firm Bain & Company. The two continued their professional relationship after college while at Charlesbank Capital Partners, a private equity firm in New York. It was at Bain and Charlesbank where the pair sharpened their business and management skills through exposure to a variety of different organizations and industries.

Katz-Mayfield and Raider’s partnership was a natural fit. They were both passionate about designing quality products, building a brand that resonated with the modern man, and creating a better overall customer experience. “For Jeff and I there was a real deep level of trust and understanding. We have a very strong value alignment,” Katz-Mayfield says.

BUILDING a new razor company didn’t happen easily. Katz-Mayfield and Raider faced challenges in choosing a razor design, finding a manufacturer, branding, and raising funds. What’s more, Harry’s was entering a market dominated by large companies Schick and Gillette. “It turns out that it’s actually really, really hard to manufacture high quality razor blades,” explains Katz-Mayfield. “That’s one of the reasons that the market is so consolidated. All the big guys do it themselves in house.”

After Katz-Mayfield pitched Raider his idea in October 2011, the two began studying design principles of common, hand-held tools. Finding what they liked best and most functional about those tools, Katz-Mayfield and Raider drafted several concepts they wanted in their new razor.

After studying the design principles of common, hand-held tools, Katz-Mayfield and Raider settled on their prototype that would become the Harry’s razor.

After studying the design principles of common, hand-held tools, Katz-Mayfield and Raider settled on their prototype that would become the Harry’s razor.

At the same time, the pair sought a manufacturing partner that could design and produce their concept for a new razor, what they call the Gothic Arch. The Gothic Arch is a technology that ensures the razor blade is strong yet also is extremely sharp at tip. “We knew we couldn’t build a brand if the product quality didn’t stand up,” said Katz-Mayfield.

This process proved challenging as only a few factories in the world have mastered the technology that Katz-Mayfield and Raider needed. After sampling a variety of products with no success, Katz-Mayfield and Raider considered abandoning the project. Yet, in January 2012, the pair achieved the breakthrough that made Harry’s a reality.

Katz-Mayfield and Raider discovered Feintechnik, a German company that had manufactured razors for 95 years. They liked Feintechnik’s quality and the cost was low enough to allow Harry’s to compete in the men’s shaving market. A partnership was solidified that ensured Harry’s would manufacture their razors through Feintechnik. With the relationship established, Harry’s began building its team, designing a brand and website, and creating the Harry’s 5-blade cartridge and other key features of its razor technology.

Katz-Mayfield and Raider launched Harry’s in March 2013, after building the company for over a year and securing intellectual property protection for their designs. After almost a year of successful operations, Harry’s moved to further shore up its operations by purchasing Feintechnik outright in January 2014.

Purchasing Feintechnik was big for Harry’s. As Katz-Mayfield pointed out, Harry’s is now vertically integrated, meaning it can cut the cost and time that come with shipping products from an outside supplier. The company can now develop their own razors in-house and experiment with new designs without the down side of paying for expensive trials and demos. On at least one occasion, Harry’s has tweaked its razor design based on feedback from customers, a process that would have been much more difficult without owning Feintechnik.

The flexibility to make design changes quickly and inexpensively gives Harry’s the edge it needs to stay competitive. “Along with Schick and Gillette, Harry’s is the only other company in the shaving category that controls design, manufacturing, and direct sales of their product,” wrote Phil Johnson, a contributor to Forbes.

A KEY INGRIDIENT of Katz-Mayfield and Raider’s entrepreneurial philosophy is authenticity which can be seen in all aspects of Harry’s culture, from its practically crafted razors to the company’s management strategy.

As Katz-Mayfield explains, the primary component of this authenticity is focusing on the underlying problem that Harry’s addresses. “It’s a lot easier to build a company that solves a problem that you empathize with, as opposed to trying to solve someone else’s problem. We’re not trying to create a brand that we thought would be cool or aspirational, but instead creating a brand that resonated with us personally,” said Katz-Mayfield.

In 2014, Harry’s acquired Feintechnik, a German company that had manufactured razors for 95 years. Feintechnik helped Harry’s solidify its design and is helping it to compete with shaving industry leaders.

In 2014, Harry’s acquired Feintechnik, a German company that had manufactured razors for 95 years. Feintechnik helped Harry’s solidify its design and is helping it to compete with shaving industry leaders.

The testament to Harry’s success is its exact alignment with the kind of company that Katz-Mayfield and Raider would want to buy razors from themselves. Rather than using whacky marketing tactics to impress customers that they don’t relate to, Katz-Mayfield and Raider are making products that they want and then trusting that the sales results will follow. “I think it makes it easier if you’re effectively the target for the product. You can emphasize and provide the feedback.”

Katz-Mayfield recalls one example to the contrary that helps explain this. While looking for a razor at his local drug store, Katz-Mayfield recalled that, “There was actually a package that had a picture of a razor blade flying over the moon on it. I thought it was a little bit absurd and a little bit overdone.”

It was this type of marketing gimmick that Katz-Mayfield wanted to avoid at Harry’s. “We try to be really stripped down, simple, and honest in our approach in the way that we talk to consumers and customers,” added Katz-Mayfield. “I think that when you can stay authentic to the roots that consumers can feel that.”

Another aspect of the company’s authenticity is how Katz-Mayfield and Raider relate to their employees and fellow team members. “We really try to provide as much information and context as possible to everybody in the company,” explains Katz-Mayfield. This even includes sharing financial information with every team member at Harry’s. “We’re not trying to hide anything from anybody as we value a culture of honesty and direct feedback.”

To offset the honesty and direct feedback, Katz-Mayfield and Raider try to infuse a sense of humor into their management. “We try to keep things lighthearted and realize that this is not life and death,” said Katz-Mayfield. “We’re not afraid to make fun of ourselves.”

Katz-Mayfield doesn’t believe that having a great idea makes an entrepreneur successful by itself. “Oftentimes in entrepreneurship the ideas are glorified. My experience was that the idea was 10% of it and then 90% of it was focusing on execution and operations.” This isn’t surprising considering that Harry’s – unlike many new startup companies – creates a physical product that is sold directly to consumers. In contrast with startups that focus on software or app creation, Harry’s has to effectively manage supply chain and manufacturing along with sales and design.

Yet the added complexity of a large-scale operation doesn’t faze Katz-Mayfield. “It’s just getting started and executing. If you make a mistake, learn from it. You’re going to hit a hundred road bumps along the way but you can’t be discouraged. View those as challenges to be overcome.”

Inside the Feintechnik factory where Harry's manufactures high quality blades.

Inside the Feintechnik factory where Harry’s manufactures high quality blades.

Katz-Mayfield attributes much of his success as an entrepreneur to the strong team that has surrounded him. At Harry’s, Katz-Mayfield and Raider have hired people who excel. “Everybody we hire should be better at what they do than what we are,” said Katz-Mayfield.

Hiring goes beyond finding the most technically competent applicants, however, and Katz-Mayfield emphasizes that value alignment is critical to assembling a great team. “You really want to make sure that there is value alignment there. ‘Does this person value the same things that I value?’”

Much like fraternity recruitment, Katz-Mayfield indicated that it’s important to go beyond simply what potential new hires say they believe in. Hiring appropriately requires investigation by the potential employer. “Nobody will say, ‘No, I don’t believe in honesty.’ It’s actually observing behavior and truly figuring out if those things are aligned,” said Katz-Mayfield. It’s also important for employers to ask how applicants have demonstrated those qualities in the past.

This value alignment goes both ways as many of Harry’s new hires are attracted to working for the company by its philanthropic culture. “I think particularly with the millennial generation they look at their place of work or any other organization that they are joining, and they expect that organization to live those type of values.”

To respond to this need, Harry’s has established at least one avenue for living its values as a company. The Harry’s 1% initiative is designed to do just that. As part of the 1% initiative, Harry’s gives 1% of its sales and 1% of its time volunteering to City Year in New York. City Year is an extension of AmeriCorps which places recent graduates in cities all across the country where they volunteer and serve the local community. “Our ability at Harry’s to attract really great talent is enabled partially by the notion that people want to work for a company beyond reasons that are based solely on revenue and profit,” concludes Katz-Mayfield.

For Katz-Mayfield, Sigma Nu had an excellent culture that helped form a common theme in his journey as entrepreneur.

For Katz-Mayfield, Sigma Nu had an excellent culture that helped form a common theme in his journey as entrepreneur.

While value alignment is critical for Harry’s, this does not mean that its employees all think the same way. “Actually having a diversity of backgrounds and ways to approach problems is really valuable,” says Katz-Mayfield. This is especially important for a company like Harry’s that values constant improvement in its employees. “We are a real learning culture. What I mean by that is everybody at all levels of the organization just really wants to learn and get better.” As a young company seeking to break into an entrenched industry, the need for constant improvement and a diversity of thinking in its employees is vital.

Ethical leadership for Katz-Mayfield is an important part of his work as a founder at Harry’s and entrepreneur. “It’s about defining a set of values and then actually living by those values.”

Katz-Mayfield doesn’t just see living by a set of values as something to be kept internal, it can also benefit society at large. “We look at certain constituents more broadly. It really is born out of a sense of responsibility to the broader community that we engage with. It’s about defining those values and being true to them both internally as a company and externally with consumers and customers,” he said.

Katz-Mayfield recalls positively his time as a collegiate brother with the Gamma Chapter at Duke University. “Some of my best friends in life were fraternity brothers at Duke.” For Katz-Mayfield, Sigma Nu had an excellent culture that helped form a common theme in his journey as entrepreneur. The connections he made through Sigma Nu ultimately led him to Bain & Company where he met Jeff Raider.

In all parts of his entrepreneurial journey, Katz-Mayfield has focused on surrounding himself with the best people he can – an attitude that all began at Duke University and Gamma Chapter. “It really does come down to the people. That’s fundamentally always been the decision making point for me.”

Taming the Data Beast

“Sigma Nu has helped Ryan Frazier (Arkansas), left, build DataRank. Along with several board of director members, DataRank employs Corben Young, right, a fellow Sigma Nu brother.”

Sigma Nu has helped Ryan Frazier (Arkansas), left, build DataRank. Along with several board of director members, DataRank employs Corben Young, right, a fellow Sigma Nu brother.

How an under-30 startup CEO is using big data to help Fortune 500 companies turn profits.

By Ben Nye (Arkansas)
Interview by Spencer Montgomery (South Florida)

AS OF OCTOBER, 2014, DataRank had been in its new office in Fayetteville, Ark., for a month. The office is modestly furnished, and has few flourishes and closed doors. Casually dressed workers input complex-looking code sequences into their desktops while seated at centrally located tables. There are no cubicles to be found.

The DataRank logo — a perky blue whale — occupies a prominent place in the office and offers a possible metaphorical interpretation to the company’s business model. Like a whale, DataRank swims comfortably through a sea of social media data and reemerges from the depths with useful analysis on consumer behavior. This unique business model driven by sophisticated algorithms has given the company a competitive advantage and has Fortune 500 clients lining up to pay for access.

Co-founder and CEO, 27-year-old Ryan Frazier (Arkansas), is perfectly comfortable in his role as a technology startup executive. Frazier’s low-key demeanor gives way to a keen entrepreneurial acumen that has caught the eye of investors and customers alike. Frazier and his young company have also gained attention from media outlets that cover startup news such as TechCrunch, Forbes, and Mashable.

Like many entrepreneurs seeking to keep costs down, Frazier has been a jack of all trades to ensure the success of his young startup. When the company moved into its first office in 2013, Frazier and his team moved all of the furniture themselves. “These tables,” indicates Frazier seated at a long, wooden table “are incredibly heavy as you can imagine.” With its most recent move, DataRank paid for movers.

It’s the second office in less than a year for the startup founded in October 2011 — the third, if counting the large house that the company’s founders lived in together. “When dirty dishes are slowing down business development or creating feuds within your coworkers, that’s not an ideal situation,” Frazier recalled.

The new office came towards the end of what proved a banner year for the three-year-old startup. In February 2014, DataRank received $1.4 million in capital from a combination of investment firms that specialize in technology startups. What’s more, DataRank doubled the employees on its payroll in 2014 while surpassing its sales goals every month.

AT ITS HEART, DataRank is a technology company. Nowhere is this more evident than the company’s leveraging social media data for its customers. Using its algorithms, DataRank reviews large swaths of information and then sorts and ranks it based on relevance to specific products or brands – a process that Frazier compares to operating a search engine such as Google. “At the simplest level it’s a tool for companies to learn about their customers,” says Frazier.

Frazier, right, along with Chuong Nguyen (not pictured) and Kenny Cason, left, moved to Fayetteville, Ark. in 2011 to found DataRank.

Frazier, right, along with Chuong Nguyen (not pictured) and Kenny Cason, left, moved to Fayetteville, Ark. in 2011 to found DataRank.

While DataRank isn’t unique in providing customer insights, its sources and methodology have distinct advantages. DataRank has a much broader scope and provides more timely information than traditional customer insight methodologies such as focus groups and surveys. Unlike focus groups and surveys, DataRank is not limited to the responses of a preselected group nor to time constraints.

Instead, DataRank gathers information from online conversations as they occur on Twitter, Facebook, and other social platforms and then provides an ongoing, real-time survey. The potential data source is also growing. A July 2014, article in the Wall Street Journal estimated that there are 1.32 billion monthly Facebook users and 271 million Twitter users. In essence, there is a global conversation about products and brands for those with access.

Along with the ever growing sources for what they call “social listening,” DataRank is in ideal position to take advantage of the surprisingly rich business climate of its home in Northwest Arkansas.

Consisting of four cities: Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville, Northwest Arkansas is home to several large, well-known companies. Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, calls Bentonville home. Tyson Foods and JB Hunt trucking – fellow Fortune 500 companies – are in neighboring Springdale. Benton County, the home of Wal-Mart, has seen its population grow from 97,000 in 1990 to over 221,000 in 2010.

Spread across the region are over 1,600 consumer goods companies attempting to sell their products in Wal-Mart. Known for its efficient supply chain, Wal-Mart has a reputation for being quick to change the products carried on its sales floor. DataRank’s ability to show how customers react to brands and products on social media is a tremendous boon for suppliers wanting shelf space in the world’s largest retailer. This is just what DataRank has done with several Fortune 500 clients that carry products in Wal-Mart.

While DataRank has seen great success through its three year history in Northwest Arkansas, this is hardly the norm for most startups, despite their perception as overnight success stories. According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, an estimated three out of four startups don’t return a dime to their investors.

On their own, innovative ideas don’t make startups successful. “Cash is king in startups and they have managed exceedingly well,” explains University of Arkansas entrepreneurship instructor Jeff Amerine. “The DataRank team is innovative, frugal, and agile. The founders have been very, very capital efficient.” Making a startup successful also takes lots of hard work, the kind that caught the eye of DataRank board of director’s member and fellow Sigma Nu alumnus Brian Henley (Arkansas). “They have a culture there of a lot of hard working young people,” said Henley.

DESPITE DATARANK’S home in Fayetteville, the company embodies much of the fast-moving, startup culture that has emerged out of Silicon Valley. It’s easy to compare DataRank’s story to HBO’s new show Silicon Valley, which features a young entrepreneur with a revolutionary and highly sought after computer algorithm. The comparison isn’t lost on Frazier. “The main character [in Silicon Valley] hyperventilates a lot and gets really worried about these decisions that he has to make,” says Frazier relating his own experience to the show. “Inevitably, whenever he finally gets over the hump there’s some bigger challenge that he has to face.”

The Silicon Valley connection goes much deeper than similarities to the HBO show. In 2013, DataRank participated in Silicon Valley’s prestigious Y Combinator program, what The New York Times has called “a sleep away camp for startup companies.” The program hosts two groups of startup entrepreneurs per year while providing mentorship and an initial investment of $120,000 for each selected startup. Previous Y Combinator alumni include prominent Internet and technology companies such as Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit.

Frazier and his team faced stiff competition for a slot at Y Combinator before the program ever began. In 2011, Y Combinator’s founder Paul Graham listed the acceptance rate for its startup program as three percent. The program immediately preceding DataRank in the spring of 2013 had an acceptance rate of only one percent.

“When you own your own company, there’s never a time when you’re not potentially working.”

“When you own your own company, there’s never a time when you’re not potentially working.”

“Y Combinator was an incredible experience for us,” said Frazier. “To have the partners of Y Combinator believe in us and what we were doing was great validation that the work we were doing might be important.”

As the first Arkansas company to participate in Y Combinator, DataRank has brought some of the Silicon Valley culture back to their home state. Like other Silicon mainstays, DataRank has its own slogan; “Best idea wins,” says Frazier. It’s not quite as disruptive as Mark Zuckerberg’s “Move fast, break things,” or repeated as often as the Valley catchphrase, “fail fast, fail often,” but it does a good job connecting DataRank back to its Bay-area roots.

DataRank also favors the non-hierarchical office structure that allows for a relaxed culture. Its “flat” office culture led to DataRank’s open floor layout designed to allow team members to easily share ideas and work together on projects.

“There’s a lot more freedom and flexibility in the startup environment, which is the way that I like to work,” adds Frazier. Of course, the increased freedom and lack of traditional office hierarchy comes with more responsibility. “There’s a lot of trust in them to manage their own time effectively,” says Frazier discussing his fellow DataRank teammates. “We don’t say, ‘these are your tasks, go complete them.’ For some people that doesn’t work well.”

The entrepreneurial journey that Frazier embarked upon when founding DataRank has been multifaceted and has included valuable lessons. However, Frazier’s experience as an entrepreneur predates DataRank’s founding in 2011. His entrepreneurial prowess became evident while still an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas.

In 2009, Frazier and a team of classmates were finalists in the Arkansas Governor’s Cup, a statewide competition for business students. The success was an indicator of more to come, and through entrepreneurial courses and holding leadership positions in the marketing association, Frazier continued to hone his skills which caught the eye of instructor and future DataRank investor Jeff Amerine. “When I met Ryan in 2009 as a junior at the [University of Arkansas] he was better prepared for life and running a venture than most people with 20 years more experience.”

Despite his talents for entrepreneurship, Frazier did not immediately start DataRank upon graduation. Instead, Frazier took a position with an office supply company as director of marketing and sales. In his downtime, Frazier began developing the ideas and concepts that would become DataRank. “When I was working for another company all the types of things I do now were more like hobbies outside of work.” What was avocation became vocation in 2011 when, after reconnecting with former classmates Chuong Nguyen and Kenny Cason, the trio moved to Fayetteville founding DataRank.

Like any entrepreneur, Frazier faces many challenges, especially staying available at all hours. “When you own your own company, there’s never a time when you’re not potentially working. It doesn’t necessarily get easier over time. As you get more familiar with what you’re doing, the stakes get higher,” Frazier says. Unlike more conventional day jobs, Frazier faces pressure that only comes when answering to investors and high-profile clients.

Amidst the pressure of being CEO and an entrepreneur, Frazier has searched for ways to find balance. “You can’t be the kind of person who says ‘I need to have my work done every day’ because there are days when you could stay until 2 a.m. and you’re not going to be done. So you have to be able to say ‘I did a great job today and these are the things that I accomplished. Tomorrow I’m going to get back at it again.’ Once we kept growing the company, we had to start putting up some of those boundaries so that you could unplug and find some time for yourself.”

Entrepreneurial experiences like Frazier’s may become increasingly more common for the current generation entering the workforce. Brian Henley, who is a software company executive and serial entrepreneur, thinks the rise of startups comes from changes in corporate America. “Corporations have changed to where they don’t really offer lifetime employment anymore; they don’t offer pension plans. That’s led people to not expect to work for one company their entire lives.”

“Corporations have changed to where they don’t really offer lifetime employment anymore.”

The change in work environment has also created opportunities that were unavailable to previous generations entering the workforce. Unlike previous generations, it’s now much easier to raise the money needed to start a company, said Henley. “You used to have to raise millions of dollars to test an idea and most young people didn’t have access to that kind of money. Now it takes tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Millennials are also in a unique position to take advantage of the opportunities found in social media and mobile technology. Henley notes that as early adopters, “they have the most ideas about how to leverage that technology with new products and new businesses.”

SIGMA NU has played an important role in Frazier’s development as a leader and in the development of his company. DataRank employs Brother Corben Young (Arkansas), a 2013 University of Arkansas graduate, and along with Brian Henley, has one other Sigma Nu sitting on the company’s board of advisors.

Much of Frazier’s leadership style can be traced back to his experience in Sigma Nu where he served as the Recruitment Chairman for Gamma Upsilon. “It’s interesting because a lot of the learning around leadership actually did come from Sigma Nu.” Frazier also credits several of the Gamma Upsilon chapter leaders he interacted with as inspirations and role models. “[It was] really learning from them and determining ‘how are they leading?’”

Frazier also found that his collegiate Sigma Nu experience provided a stronger bond and more motivated culture than what he saw in other organizations. “The unique and energizing thing about Sigma Nu was that the majority of everyone there really had a lot of drive. There were a lot of talented and intelligent individuals.”

It was his involvement with the Fraternity and other extracurricular activity at the University that Frazier found to be the most productive in his development as an entrepreneur. “Get involved in the leadership of the Fraternity or in other organizations that are focused on the things that you’re passionate about. Any kind of experience you can get leading these groups of 20-100 people is really valuable,” said Frazier providing advice to other would-be entrepreneurs.

For Frazier, much of entrepreneurship ties back to ethical leadership, especially fulfilling his word to clients, investors, and coworkers. “When you say you’re going to do something, you do it. You don’t leave someone by the wayside or waiting.”

Undoubtedly, Frazier’s commitment to ethical leadership through entrepreneurship will continue to take him far – a view that is shared by Jeff Amerine, the Arkansas entrepreneurship instructor. “Ryan is a hitter and DataRank is only the first of many great things he will do.”

The Power of Quality

Bill Watson_photo1

After founding Watson Realty Corp. over 50 years ago, Bill’s company now operates 43 real estate offices in Florida and Georgia. Bill credits his Sigma Nu experience with teaching him the leadership skills necessary to lead a successful company.

Bill Watson (Stetson) can trace his interest in real estate back to one of his business professors who had a special skill for getting students excited about real estate. “He created so much excitement about real estate opportunities to the class and painted the image that we’re not training you to be real estate salespeople, we’re training you to be leaders and entrepreneurs, to control your destiny. He asked us, Where is the wealth in the US? Who is in a better position to understand what a good value is?”

This prescient mindset by one of Bill’s professors would prove to be the spark that launched his career in real estate. Now, over 50 years later, Bill’s personal portfolio of individually-owned and Watson Realty Corp. properties includes 240 single-family homes, 68 office buildings or commercial properties, three apartment buildings and other miscellaneous properties. The company he founded, Watson Realty Corp., operates 43 real estate offices, 29 property management offices, two title companies, a mortgage company, and a maintenance division which includes plumbing, electrical, heating and air and home improvement, as well as a School of Real Estate, a Commercial Division, and a limited-function referral division with over 600 members.

Bill credits his company’s success to the leadership skills he developed in Sigma Nu’s Delta Mu Chapter at Stetson. “You have to concentrate on the basic skills, and invest heavily in your people. That relates directly to the fraternity. We’ve built our company on a military concept. I always tried to do a good job promoting, and softening up the market. Just like the military, you don’t take the market until your people take the market.”

Sigma Nu as the formative Years

Bill remembers a culture in the chapter that expected brothers to perform well academically. “There was a degree of responsibility for those around you. We were all expected to look out for our Sigma Nu brothers,” he remembers.

There’s one example in particular Bill recalls that illustrates the chapter’s support for strong academics. He was taking Saturday classes at the time and the Sigma Nus were planning their big hay ride event.  Bill was dating his future wife at the time and told her he’d have to skip the event to prepare for his test the next day – a discipline not found in typical college students.

Bill Watson_photo2

Bill prepares to toss the coin at a Stetson vs. Jacksonville football game.

Bill has always maintained a fondness for the railroads dating back to when his father and grandfather worked as train conductors. “We only had one car growing up, so we would always be driving to Union Station if he was running passenger trains or the shipping yard if he was running freight.” Bill’s grandfather worked for Southern Railroad and his father worked for Seaboard Coastline Railroad, now CSX. As he entered high school, he loved making money and saving to buy a car, but he realized the importance of getting a good education. “That was one of the things I liked about the Sigma Nus when I first arrived on campus. I could tell they were concerned about new members excelling in the classroom.”

“I worked summers and almost a full year before entering college. But the Sigma Nus wanted you to make good grades. We had study hall to instill that discipline. If you ever needed help with classwork, you could always count on a brother to provide guidance.”

In addition to a focus on academics, Bill was attracted to the Delta Mu Chapter because they were clearly the top performers on campus. “For those four years, we were superior to the other fraternities,” he remembers. “We were so dominating in leadership and activities that the school implemented a quota system in an attempt to level the playing field. The new limit was 65 members – we had 90.”

When Bill was attending Stetson, the students were expected to attend chapel once a week on Tuesday or Wednesday. The old Sigma Nu house was two blocks from the chapel in Elizabeth Hall.

Coffee and donuts would start at eleven in the morning at the fraternity house and Bill remembers, “All the ladies would stop by. We had all the hit records playing. It was a great way to interact socially.”

Bill has fond memories of the fraternity brothers serenading the ladies on campus when they were “pinned,” a tradition that has faded since his time. “They don’t do that anymore,” he says. “We would march three abreast and sing. This was before air conditioning. The ladies would be watching from the windows. We would present the white roses. It was impressive. It was a significant occasion and the ladies on campus loved it.”

Bill Watson with his wife, Janelle, at the opening of Watson Realty Corp.’s new office in Mount Dora, Fla.

Bill Watson with his wife, Janelle, at the opening of Watson Realty Corp.’s new office in Mount Dora, Fla.

When Bill was matriculating at Stetson the Delta Mu Chapter was an example of the way success breeds success. “Quality brothers bring more quality. We have adopted this same mindset with our business. If you don’t recruit quality Sigma Nus, you lose that benefit. That works the same way in business. You’re known for the company you keep.” Bill also remembers being impressed by the military inspired organizational structure and what he calls the aura of the Commander. “That’s different from a president.  The commander is the leader. I liked the concept for the military connection. I liked the formality and the three cardinal principles,” he recalls.

“I was impressed with the goal-setting and the emphasis on working as a team.  It showed in the presence our brothers had within ROTC. We graduated a lot of great officers.” Many of these ROTC leaders Bill references would go on to serve distinguished military careers, including two Lt. Generals, Jim Crysel and Jack Woodall, who were featured speakers at the 2013 College of Chapters.

Lifelong Commitment

As someone who has witnessed the power of brotherhood, Bill has always encouraged students under his wing to join the fraternity community. “If you go to college and don’t join a fraternity, when you leave college you’ll be missing out on a big network of support.”

“The Greeks are the ones who contribute to the university,” he observed. “Non-Greeks don’t have the same affinity for the college.” For Bill, this isn’t just an empty statement – he’s demonstrated a lifelong commitment to Stetson and the Delta Mu Chapter.

Delta Mu Chapter recently celebrated 100 years at Stetson and Bill was there to join the anniversary event. “It was really exciting and gratifying to celebrate that milestone. It was a thrill. 100 years doesn’t happen very often – maintaining that level of longevity separates you from the competition.”

When he thinks back about the most important leadership lessons he learned in Sigma Nu, the first thing he mentions is the importance of focusing on the bigger picture. “You have to look at the big goal. Don’t get wrapped around the axle on the minor things.”

Managing different personalities is always a challenge for entrepreneurs and business owners as it is for student leaders. Bill has carefully managed his professional relationships, with a broader emphasis on always treating people the way he would want to be treated. “We don’t want anyone to leave as an enemy. We want them to leave as a friend. You win by lifting them up and maximizing their talents.”

When Bill encounters an employee who isn’t a good fit, he’s always handled personnel changes diplomatically. “You are not doing someone a favor if they are failing and you keep them in your business,” he says. “We try to handle career changes in a very positive way: We think a lot of you and you have many good skills and qualities but it’s not a good fit for our organization.  We’re not going in the same direction.  But we like you and wish you the best.”

Helping new employees learn the company culture is also a critical skill for any business leader. When hiring, Bill says he looks for people who do things unsuccessful people don’t do. Anytime Bill is losing focus, he likes to recall the famous Vince Lombardi quote, “Mental fatigue makes cowards of us.” This inspires him with the discipline to do a little more. “Successful people are committed and they reap the benefits of success. Success is a lot of fun – failure is not much fun.”

“We try to inspire new employees. They owe it to themselves. You must have the discipline to make that additional call, to do one more visit. This divides the winners from the losers.”

Bill is quick to see the parallels between sound hiring practices and fraternity recruitment. “Look for people with good personal skills,” he says. “Look for people with a strong sense of commitment, not only in their work but also in their ethics. If they’re only focused on the fun part then they’ll take you in the wrong direction.” Bill has witnessed this problem in college freshmen who arrive on campus and don’t focus on academics. “They don’t realize that they are at a critical focal point in their life – they don’t realize that if they don’t graduate the trajectory of their entire career will be affected.”

Bill has had many years to observe the qualities that make for a model employee, and he can list them off from memory. “Dress like you care about your job. Don’t overreact before you know all the facts. It’s very important to hold your mouth – there’s nothing to be gained from criticizing people.”

“We see ethical leadership as self-discipline, as a commitment to do the right thing and not be swayed by the pain or price it costs to stick to your principles.”

“We have built our organization on the basics,” he says. “Be positive, outwork your competition, and focus on ethics and quality. We will not allow ourselves to be corrupted by one little thing.  Our word is worth more than that.”

There’s also a firm commitment to developing employees that runs through the company culture. “We strive to take the individual’s strengths and multiply and accelerate them,” Bill says of mentoring employees. “We have found you are not successful in changing negatives – so focus on the positives.”

“We see ethical leadership as self-discipline, as a commitment to do the right thing and not be swayed by the pain or price it costs to stick to your principles. Doing the right thing wins out in the long run. We won’t compromise our principles. There are certain things where you draw the line. Do things the right way and you’ll be a longer-term winner.”

When it comes to business acumen and ethical leadership, Bill sees the fraternity experience as an indispensable asset for young men. “These are young guys right out of high school with limited experience.  You’re running these chapters with young men and we’re molding them to perform like senior business leaders.”

So why has Bill chosen to stay involved all these years? “I have a high degree of loyalty and commitment. If you give me an assignment, I’m going to give 110% or not take it at all. Sigma Nu means a lot to me.  Those were the formative years. I could have gone another direction and not achieved the same success.  It really made a difference in my life, and I am thankful for the opportunity to be a Sigma Nu.”

Twitter tries, fails to hold fraternity-themed party

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons license by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid (scottbeale.org/laughingsquid.com.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons license by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid (scottbeale.org/laughingsquid.com)

Twitter is taking criticism this week after employees at the San Francisco office hosted a fraternity house-themed party reportedly organized by the company’s revenue team.

Some critics condemned the event as tone-deaf in light of Silicon Valley’s male-dominated culture that fails to adequately promote women to leadership positions. This lack of diversity has been well-documented in recent months, underscored by high-profile lawsuits from former employees alleging gender discrimination.

In hosting this event Twitter employees revealed another area of ignorance: they have little idea of what a fraternity party actually looks like. Far from the unregulated, anything-goes caricature many have about fraternity parties, these social functions are beholden to pages of detailed but necessary requirements to ensure the safety of all guests and members.

If Twitter wants to host a true fraternity-themed party, here is what it would actually look like.

BYOB. No alcoholic beverages are purchased through the chapter treasury nor is the purchase of same for members or guests undertaken or coordinated by any member or candidate in the name of or on behalf of the chapter.

No tap system or bulk alcohol purchases. No tap system and/or a keg is present in the chapter house, on chapter property, or at a chapter function (unless the tap system and/or keg is part of a cash bar operated by a licensed and insured third party vendor).

Sober monitors. Chapters are required to have designated sober monitors to ensure the safety of members and guests.

Attendees must be of legal drinking age to consume alcohol. Valid identification of those claiming to be entitled legally to consume alcohol at chapter functions (where legal consumption is permitted) is checked for the correct age.

No drinking games. No chapter member permits, tolerates, encourages or participates in drinking games in the chapter house, on chapter property, or at any chapter function. Drinking games like Twitter’s beer pong table encourage the type of reckless over-consumption of alcohol that leads to accidents and the ensuing negative media coverage.

Scholarship comes first. A chapter that falls beneath its school’s All-Men’s undergraduate, All-IFC or a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale), whichever is lowest, shall be placed on academic warning for the next academic term in order to allow for the chapter to raise its GPA to be at or above the applicable GPA. (If Twitter’s staff had been a fraternity chapter they would have been barred from hosting social functions due to under-performing stock values.)

It might be tempting to dismiss all this as burdensome red tape implemented by a top-down bureaucracy. However, those familiar with the typical national fraternity governance model will know this is far from the truth.

Each biennium representatives from every collegiate chapter gather for a legislative conclave known to us as Grand Chapter. During this legislative conference, members propose, discuss, and vote upon changes to our national bylaws, including the Risk Reduction Policy and Guidelines.

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Collegiate delegates review materials before voting on a proposed change to national bylaws at the 66th Grand Chapter in Nashville.

The votes for these decisions are overwhelmingly controlled by undergraduates, which means no regulation governing social events is passed without the support of the collegiate members. These regulations governing all fraternity social functions ensure chapters provide a safe environment for all attendees. The Grand Chapter also delegates to the General Fraternity the authority to exercise appropriate discipline for any chapter that fails to uphold these basic expectations.

We’re flattered Twitter staffers tried to imitate their perception of a stereotypical fraternity party. In doing so, however, their employees illustrated a common misunderstanding about the way fraternity events are governed and regulated.

And while we have your attention we hope you’ll check out Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit devoted to closing the gender gap in technology and engineering.

 

Virtue is its Own Reward

Sword By Ben Nye (Arkansas)

It’s elegant language: “Let it be ‘Laus Virtutis Actio,’ which we interpret literally ‘the deed is valor’s praise’ and symbolically “virtue is its own reward.’”

I was undoubtedly struck by these words on first hearing them read from our beloved ritual. As is often the case in our ritual, the language is poetic, stirring, and enigmatic.

Along with references to the Christian Bible, poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Freemasonry, our ritual includes phraseology in Latin, Greek, and was written by countless brothers. Its language is taken from two millennia of ideas and includes the loftiest sentiments of Judeo-Christian and Greek stoic traditions. Sigma Nu’s ritual is challenging to understand and even harder to live up to.

Yet, as Sigma Nus, this is exactly what we are charged with: living virtuous lives worthy of Honor.

This is what brings us to the mysterious phrase about virtue.

So what exactly does “virtue is its own reward” mean?

Originally, I thought this phrase meant doing things that weren’t very fun and not expecting to get any reward for it. I equated virtue – doing the right thing – with always eating your vegetables. The thing is, we all really want dessert and the only reason we eat vegetables is to get dessert. In this equation, being virtuous was like eating vegetables without getting a dessert afterwards.

That’s what I used to think. Then I listened a little closer. Our ritual tells us that “virtue is its own reward.” Rather than comparing virtue to eating vegetables, a more appropriate analogy compares virtue to enjoying an exquisite steak. It takes most of us a while to cultivate a taste for steak; after all, most children don’t eat steak. They prefer macaroni and cheese, French fries, and candy; their flavor palates haven’t fully formed.

Reaping the rewards of virtue only come after cultivating our appetites for things we aren’t initially attracted to.

The child’s natural preference for junk food doesn’t mean, however, that he should perpetually eat food on the kid’s menu. How strange would it be to see a 40-year-old man order from the kid’s menu or get a Happy Meal?

Instead, the adult, as he matures, develops a refined sense of taste. Generic macaroni and cheese no longer sates his desire and he gains an appetite for finer food and drink. Like a perfectly cooked, tender steak. The Quest

The virtuous life is the same way. Reaping the rewards of virtue only come after cultivating our appetites for things we aren’t initially attracted to. Virtue is hard and requires a willingness to push through the natural desire to give up when the going is tough. Moreover, this can only come after one has realized that there is more to life than living for Friday and Saturday nights.

The rewards of virtue are found after getting your hands dirty at a Habitat for Humanity building site, planning and executing a successful philanthropy, acing a test that you spent many hours studying for, and choosing to do what is right rather than what is easy.

Striving for the rewards of virtue also leads to a subtle change in desires. Much like learning to appreciate fine foods, virtuous living gives a reward that is inaccessible to those who don’t attempt it. How can the man who has never dined in a fine steakhouse understand his friend who raves about it? Likewise, the one who never attempts the virtuous life can’t comprehend its higher rewards.

Teaching young men the virtuous life is exactly what Sigma Nu does. It teaches the fundamentals of virtue and encourages young men to continue until gaining its reward. Every LEAD session, properly run chapter meeting, or successful philanthropy event is an opportunity to grow in the pursuit of virtue and gain some of the rewards it promises.

All Sigma Nu brothers should join in the pursuit of virtue, trusting that its rewards outweigh the cost of pursuit. Like a child trying steak for the first time, believe that the taste is worth it.

Teaching young men the virtuous life is exactly what Sigma Nu does.