Written by Grand Sage Joe Palazzolo (Monmouth ’03)
When I was an undergraduate, I made it a point to read as much material as I could regarding the history of our Fraternity. In the early 2000s, the best place to find that information was the Sigma Pi Manual. I recall reading about the Sigma Pi Literary Society and having a whole bunch of questions. Could we really have the same name? Why had we never joined together? What is the Society like in comparison to the Fraternity? After graduating, I worked to build some alumni infrastructure and positive traditions at my chapter and throughout New Jersey, though I always maintained an interest in learning more about the Society and knew I would seek to learn more if I ever volunteered at a higher level. I knew that if I had the honor of serving as our Grand Sage, then I would make it a point to visit as many chapters as possible. After I was installed in August, I began mapping out where my visits would take me and as I was planning my visit to our chapters in Illinois and Indiana, I noticed that my travels would take me right by Jacksonville, Illinois, the home of Illinois College and the Society. This inspired me to do two things. First, I purchased a copy of Sigma Pi Society of Illinois College: 1843 – 1971. This history book contains two chapters focused on the largely forgotten relationship between the Fraternity and the Society. Second, I reached out to the Society to see if they would be open to having me attend one of their weekly meetings to deliver a speech about leadership on college campuses and our shared history. The Society was open to the visit and could not have been more accommodating to me and Kyle Heimbigner (Washington State ’10), who joined me on the visit. I am grateful for their hospitality and I look forward to connecting with the Society to visit them again!