The Emerald of Sigma Pi Fraternity A Quest for Excellence Mon, 22 Oct 2018 16:30:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 83896150 James Keene (Cornell ’54) Obituary Mon, 22 Oct 2018 16:16:48 +0000 Editors note – This article was originally published in the New York Times

KEENE–James H, III, passed away Wednesday, October 17, at home, in peace, surrounded by his immediate family in Omaha, Nebraska. For over 60 years, Jim Keene lived the Sigma Pi creed both as a stellar supporter of Mu Chapter, Cornell University and as a civic leader in his community. After pledging in the fall of 1953, Jim served with dedication, devotion, and passion in order not only to establish Mu Chapter as a strong organization but to complement its stability in both housing and scholarship funding. Jim served as president of Mu Chapter’s alumni board over 21 years. In 2014, he was presented with the Founders Award, Sigma Pi’s highest honor. Jim served for 32 years with Peter Kiewit Sons Inc, and managed Humboldt Specialty Manufacturing Company. He was an active director of Mu Chapter’s alumni board and the Mu Chapter Educational Foundation. Memorial contributions can be made to Mu Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity P.O. Box 876, Ithaca, NY 14851-0876 P.O. Box 876, Ithaca, NY 14851-0876



Quarterly Recognition – October 2018 Fri, 12 Oct 2018 15:29:32 +0000 Province Archon of the Quarter
Ian Wolf (Rutgers ’12)
Ian overlooks all of the Sigma Pi New Jersey chapters and has proven to be a great leader to them all. He always makes sure that his groups are submitting reports in a timely manner as well as being positive role models at their respective institutions. In addition, Ian has worked to establish better alumni relationships for each chapter by working with alumni clubs and housing corporations. Ian has set a lot of goals for his groups and hopes to bring the Grand Sage Cup back to New Jersey.

Chapter Director of the Quarter
Larry Moyer (East Stroudsburg ’62)
Beta-Psi recently got suspended from the school for missing 1 IFC meeting. Larry believed that the punishment did not fit the crime. When Larry heard about this he drove straight down to ESU and did not leave campus until he talked to an administrator and got an explanation. Larry is very passionate and dedicated about the Fraternity and wants the best for the Chapter.

Sage of the Quarter
Tier 1 – Logan Fuqua (Kentucky ’17)
Logan became the Sage of the Epsilon-Beta Chapter at a very unique time. The Chapter at the University of Kentucky recently rechartered within the last two years. The Chapter returned to their original house, and have begun to fundraise and draft new plans for house renovations and upgrades. However, Epsilon-Beta is still a “new” Chapter in the eyes of the student body.
He understands the need for his Chapter to be involved and noticed on campus in order to rebuild the reputation Epsilon-Beta once had. Logan placed emphasis on fall recruitment and knew this semester’s new members would be imperative to improve the image of the Chapter. Epsilon-Beta needed to recruit additional manpower to have the human resources to compete with many of UK’s largest chapters. Logan led many of the recruitment presentations himself, and with his two rush co-chairs. His efforts helped inspire the Chapter to recruit one of the largest pledge classes on Kentucky’s campus, at 26 men.

Tier 2 –  Noah Green (SIU-Carbondale ’16)
Noah Green, current Sage of Beta-Nu Chapter, will be wrapping up the second half of his term at the end of this semester. He exemplifies what it means to be a brother of Sigma Pi. With his efforts at his position, he has instilled in his Chapter a sense of brotherhood that is recognizable at first glance which has also been reflected in the sense of pride members have in their membership. Under Noah’s lead, the Chapter was able to extend bids to 20 new members, the largest new member class on campus by far, giving the Chapter the opportunity to double their size this semester. Aside from this the GPA of the Chapter sits above a 3.0 and is a small percentage away from landing them in the top 3 fraternities on campus academically.

Tier 3 – Wilson Love (Middle Tennessee State ’17)
Wilson had to take over Sage duties at the end of January 2018 while he was a sophomore. Since then, he has grown to be a true leader both in his Chapter as well as on campus. He has done an excellent job collaborating with the rest of his Executive Council and also by making sure the Chapter follows through with their plans. He not only oversees the Executive Council and helps with committees but rather looks out for each and every member of the Chapter on a personal level. Wilson has shown the meaning of brotherhood to his Chapter and combines it with being “True Blue” at MTSU. With the guidance and leadership from Wilson, the Chapter is excited for the academic year with the title of “IFC Chapter of the Year” at Middle Tennessee State University in their sights.

Tier 4 – Sebastian Belfonti (Indiana of Pennsylvania ’16)
Sebastian is in his last year at Indiana of Pennsylvania and is determined to leave his mark on Theta-Epsilon and his university. He is open-minded when it comes to trying new things to help the Chapter improve, and understands that times are changing and we need to change with it in order to thrive as a Fraternity. With this in mind, he has put the groundwork in place to help the Chapter thrive for years to come. Brothers have nothing but good things to say about Sebastian and the Greek Life advisor praised Sebastian for his involvement with the Student Life Office.

Halloween Safety Tips Thu, 11 Oct 2018 14:59:39 +0000 EDITORS NOTE: This article was originally published by Nationwide on

Halloween is a night of fun and fright, but it does require extra caution when it comes to keeping your little monsters safe. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, “on average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to any other day of the year, and more than 70 percent of accidents occur away from an intersection or crosswalk.” Follow these Halloween safety tips to help avoid common accidents and dangers.

MSH Halloween Infographic NEW

Trick-or-treating safety tips

1. Provide adult supervision

Trick or treat is safer – not to mention more fun – in groups, and adult supervision is essential. So get together with other adults and make an evening of it. Bring cellphones for quick pictures and emergencies, but leave them in your pockets to avoid getting distracted.

2. Stay on the sidewalks

The thrill of the holiday often factors into accidents as excited kids rush from door to door. Keep children on the sidewalks, and shepherd them carefully when they need to cross the road. In areas without sidewalks, walk on the far edge of the road, facing traffic.

3. Carefully check candy

Check candy for choking hazards like gum and hard candies. Throw away any candy that is not sealed with a wrapper and avoid homemade treats received from strangers.

Costume safety tips

4. Choose bright, visible costumes

When selecting a costume, opt for the bright-colored outfits and add a touch of reflective tape to the material. Stick some reflective tape on their trick-or-treat bags as well so they can be easily spotted by motorists. Lastly, don’t forget to make sure they’re equipped with a flashlight or glow stick – must-have accessories for any costume.

5. Make sure costumes are well-fitted and safe

Being visible isn’t the only safety consideration for a costume. The right fit is just as important. Here’s some advice on keeping your child’s ensemble safe and secure:

  • Prevent accidental tripping or entanglement by making sure costumes aren’t too big or long
  • Avoid masks that block vision, but if your child wears one – it should have large eye, nose and mouth openings. You can also op for makeup or face paint as an alternative
  • Costumes, wigs and accessories should contain a label indicating they are flame resistant
  • Make sure accessories such as swords, canes, or sticks are not sharp or too long

6. Makeup safety

If makeup is a part of your child’s Halloween costume plans, make sure it is non-toxic and test it on a small area first. Before your child goes to bed, make sure to remove all makeup.

Home Safety Tips

7. Jack-o-lantern safety

Young children can paint or color their pumpkins instead of carving. Or have them draw a face with markers and an adult can do the carving. Use colorful glow sticks inside your Jack-o-lanterns instead of candles to prevent burns.

8. Home decoration safety

If you’re turning your home into a haunted house, keep safety in mind: make sure steps, sidewalks, porches and paths are well-lit and free of decorations and holiday props. Keep decorations away from fireplaces and candles.

9. Take precaution against pranks and vandalism

Unfortunately, vandalism often increases during Halloween. That’s why taking these precautions is a good idea:

  • If you’re going away during Halloween, make it seem like you’re still home by turning down the volume of your answering machine and phone, covering your garage windows, and leaving your curtains in normal positions with valuables out of sight.
  • Install outdoor lighting (activated by a photocell or movement) to illuminate the area around your home during Halloween.
  • Consider purchasing a security system that directly alerts police to intruders.
  • Trim shrubs and large trees before Halloween so trespassers have fewer hiding spots.
  • Make sure your homeowners insurance policy is up-to-date.

Car and driving safety tips

10. Use extra caution while driving

Drivers need to take particular care on this chaotic night. Keep your car parked if you can, but if you have to drive through a neighborhood, take it much slower than normal. Watch for kids who may dart between cars and into the road without looking. Read our Halloween Driving Safety Guide for more useful tips.

11. Protect your car

Cars are another common target of vandalism on Halloween. Here are some ways you can help secure your car:

  • Park inside if you can on Halloween. Your garage is your best bet. If you do not have a garage you may want to consider investing in some outdoor lighting for your driveway and yard.
  • Make sure your car is locked on Halloween. Oftentimes, vandals complete their missions with ease when doors are unlocked and windows are down/cracked.
  • Consider a car alarm.
  • Hide your valuables on Halloween. Don’t give thieves any extra incentive to break into your car.
Keys to Finding Your Professional Identity Thu, 11 Oct 2018 14:56:44 +0000 Each morning when I arrive at work, sit down in my office, and I start my computer I see the phrase “Be mindful even if your mind is full.” Usually, I am perplexed by the number of items on my list for the day or the number of meetings, but I know I have to continue to show respect, compassion, and intentionality. For me, the priority is students on a college campus seeking their sense of belonging outside of the classroom. A question my colleagues and I have discussed is, how can you show up in your career fully yourself, not your title, and be professional?

Being a professional in any career field or vocational area comes with its own set of successes, failures, and moment of insightful learning and growth. Navigating a new work environment, meeting new people, and learning a new place and city/town is a part of how our professional identity is shaped. There are three key strategies and reminders I have learned about being professional in the workplace. To me, they are the quintessential parts of comprising and learning more about who you are as a professional human.

Ground yourself in the experience even when times get tough. I share this thought with you first because I believe it’s one where individuals learn who they truly are as a professional. With all the parts of our jobs, the responsibilities and roles we are to act upon, there are and will be times where it would simply be better just to leave. Thankfully, we know these feelings about leaving can subside quickly if we just brave the storm we are facing. When you are facing times of trouble as a professional, write and reflect on what you are feeling, why you are feeling that way, and what you can do to assist in resolving it. It can be quite draining to plant your feet and stay when a difficulty occurs, but I believe this is where we define for ourselves and others our courage. In these situations, let vulnerability be your guide; you should let it show up in the form of courage. Let people know, respectfully, how you are feeling or what you are seeing and hearing. It is easy to leave a situation or role as a professional, but it is in our best interests as professional to ground ourselves in those moments to learn, grow, and mature.

Let people see the real, authentic you from day one. I said to my supervisor the other day, “Sometimes I feel like I am showing up as Kevin more than I am as the Associate Director, and I am 100% starting to realize that is okay!” I rely on being myself, Kevin, not my title in the work I do as a professional. Professionalism that is authentic is effective in the workplace. This kind of professionalism is the foundation of our relationship building with individuals and teams. You should ask yourself some of these questions about how you can show up as your one, true self and remain professional.

  1. What one value is important to me in the workplace and how do I use this value in my words and actions daily?
  2. What amount of personal information am I willing to share with colleagues and what are my boundaries?
  3. After my time in the professional role I am serving in comes to an end, how would I want people to describe me as a person and professional?

Lead teams and individuals from behind-the-scenes. This might come as shocking news, but we should never believe that we as professionals are the center of attention. In fact, I believe professionalism is selfless. While you must take care of yourself as a professional, we must also show a level of care, compassion, and general interest in other’s professional growth. As supervisors and teammates in schools, businesses, industries, and institutions, how can you put others before you and learn to coach and affirm people from the sidelines? Professionalism is about knowing when to lead through an experience or responsibility and knowing when to coach and let someone learn through leading. Professionally, I find it easier to be my authentic self when I am coaching others through learning experiences. Individuals and teams who have this adopted as a part of their culture often times are comprised of selfless professionals. Be the reason somebody has an answer to a job interview question in the future.

As I am writing this, I have written down three new things for my to do list for the day, thought about a difficult conversation I need to have with someone, and realized I forgot my coffee at home. Yes, our minds are full of differing energies (positive and negative), but we still need to show up as professionals to lead, coach, and be courageous.

College Town: WPI police officer honored for service to Sigma Pi Fraternity Mon, 01 Oct 2018 14:45:50 +0000 Editors Note: The section below originally ran in an article on and was written by Bonnie Russell.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute campus police Officer Robert Vandal never expected to be a fraternity advisor, let alone an award-winning one.

He has faithfully served as the advisor to Gamma Iota, WPI’s chapter of Sigma Pi, for almost a decade and a half and recently received the Dr. Robert L. Burns Award for his dedication.

Officer Vandal, who has spent more than four decades in public safety, the last 23 of them with campus police at WPI, became a familiar face to WPI’s fraternity community when he served as a liaison for campus Greek Life, giving safety talks and risk management training to each campus chapter. In 2004, a couple of members of Sigma Pi asked him to serve temporarily as their adviser.

“I didn’t know if I could do this as a police officer,” Mr. Vandal said, recalling that he checked with WPI Police Chief Cheryl A. Martunas and was given the go-ahead to assume the role of adviser, a position he thought would be very brief.

A few weeks turned into three months and then six months and finally Sigma PI announced it had arrived at a decision for a permanent adviser. Their choice surprised Mr. Vandal.

“They wanted me. I agreed to try it for a year,” Mr. Vandal said.

Fourteen years later, Mr. Vandal is still offering advice and serving as a liaison between the fraternity and the university, and, most important, being a mentor and offering a listening ear.

Not only do the fraternity members cherish his advice, they have welcomed him as a brother.

In 2008, Sigma Pi member David Magnano, then a WPI senior and now alumnus and New England province archon (a volunteer position as head of alumni volunteers for the New England Region), proposed that Mr. Vandal become a brother.

The vote was unanimous to extend an invitation to Officer Vandal, and after going through the proper channels he became a full-fledged brother of Sigma Pi and “he became my little brother,” Mr. Magnano said.

Almost 10 years later, Mr. Magnano nominated Mr. Vandal for the Burns award, a biennial award given to a fraternity adviser who increases and supports scholarship and/or enhances university relations, and who has a close relationship with his campus chapter.

Thomas White, president of WPI’s Gamma Iota Chapter of Sigma Pi, said of the relationship, it’s a “bond that is really special to a lot of members. We really like meeting Officer Vandal up on the hill. It really brightens our day.”

The feeling is mutual for Officer Vandal. “I’ve been an officer for 40 years and there are kids on campus who are 40 years younger. To think they choose to be a lifelong friend,” Mr. Vandal said, adding that after the students graduate many become his Facebook friends.

Mr. Vandal says he plans to keep advising Sigma Pi until he retires.

Wise Words to Remember During Formal Recruitment Season Fri, 14 Sep 2018 14:00:26 +0000 By:  Joe Palazzolo, Delta-Beta

While reading a PDF version of Sigma Pi Fraternity‘s The Emerald magazine from October 1919 (Volume 6, Issue 3), I came across the brief article below, written by Harold K. Bowen.

As a clarifying aside, Brother Bowen is listed as being from “Delta-Xi,” though that is not possible using the chapter designations that the Fraternity uses today since the Fraternity’s Delta-Xi Chapter was founded at Southern Utah University in 1970 and this article was published in 1919. My assumption is that Brother Bowen is from Xi Chapter at the University of Iowa (the Fraternity’s records show a Ralph Bowen initiated into Xi Chapter back in 1918) which was part of the Delta Province at the time. Today, the Fraternity uses geographic demarcations to name provinces (Heartland Province, New England Province, South Atlantic Province, etc.), but this was not always the case – in the early 1900s, Sigma Pi used Greek letters to name the provinces.

The information that Brother Bowen provides in his write-up is interesting from a historical perspective, but also deeply relevant to keep in mind during formal recruitment. Here is Brother Bowen’s advice that you should remember when considering men for membership in Sigma Pi:


Harold K. Bowen, Delta-Xi

Sigma Pi does not seek to claim any man who desires to enter our Fraternity that he may merely wear our badge. Such a man if received within our fold would prove undesirable owing to his peculiar make-up. A self-individual within a fraternity is out of his environment and it would require more than a badge to convince him that he was in the right environment. He could not possess that capacity of wanting things for his fellowmen and would never sacrifice his interests or desires that his brothers might be benefited thereby.

Occasionally we recognize a fraternity man by his badge, only to conclude much to the discredit of his fraternity that he lacks that requisite quality of a true fraternity man, that of being a good mixer. Though he may have acquired much in wealth or honor he would know little of men and their ways. Anyone desirous for self alone could not be recognized as an authority on men and would never be considered by the world as one of its spokesmen.

Fraternity men should be crowd men and as such feel more at home when rubbing elbows with their brother men of the crowd. It is not easy to have courage for others when they are not interested in what should be our common endeavors. However, the men who achieve in this world are those who possess the courage to want things for others. They are not for self. (Nor is success measured by self.)

Sigma Pi is for all of us when all of us cooperate to make it better and bigger. Badge men should not seek to be a Sigma Pi. Sigma Pi wants crowd men.

As is so often the case with our forefathers in Sigma Pi Fraternity, Brother Bowen writes eloquently about what the Fraternity needs to thrive. He distinguishes between Badge Men and Crowd Men with the primary difference being that Badge Men join a fraternity simply to join. Or, as was common in the 1910s when this was written, some men joined a fraternity just to show off the group’s badge on their chest instead of earning the privilege of wearing that badge every day that they were honored to be a member.

Do you know someone like that in your chapter? Someone who is more concerned about being a “frat guy” than about living a contemporary revival of the storied history behind the letters on his chest?

Today, think of the guys who come out for recruitment just because they want to be a “frat guy” and not necessarily because they want to join something bigger than themselves. These are the opposite of the Crowd Men that Brother Bowen notes in his essay. He says that Crowd Men are those who “have courage for others when they are not interested in what should be our common endeavors.” What does this mean? In today’s terms, Crowd Men are those who are constantly working to improve their local chapter, the larger Greek community, and the plight of collegians across the country. They take an interest in what is important for the Fraternity, but they also see the larger battles taking place across our culture and work to improve the standing of their friends, fraternity brothers, and colleagues in the greater struggle.

One of Brother Bowen’s final comments resonated with me in a particular way. He writes, “Sigma Pi is for all of us when all of us cooperate to make it better…” We need more men – young and old alike – who are committed to cooperating to truly making the Fraternity better for all of us, but more importantly – better for the next generation of Sigma Pi men who have yet to join us.

The Priest Brothers Mon, 10 Sep 2018 21:22:28 +0000 By: Salvatore Popolillo, III

In a rough estimate from a report by the Center for Disease Control, the rate of having triplets in the US is 1:500. Statistically speaking, it’s more likely to win a futures bet on the Miami Marlins taking the National League Pennant or the University of Maryland-Baltimore County beating the Virginia Cavaliers two times in a row than it is to have triplets (my apologies in advance to Beta-Pi Chapter). The odds of having triplets go to the same university and join the same fraternity is something so anomalous that even the great Nate Silver would get a migraine from crunching the numbers. However, brothers from Xi Chapter at the University of Iowa would disagree.

As freshmen, the Priest brothers, Mitchell (’19), Gavin (’19), and Kevin (’19), went to the University of Iowa already knowing some of the Sigma Pi brothers. It started as a typical story of freshmen going to rush events and enjoying the luminescent feeling of brotherhood resonating from Xi Chapter. One might think that they would intentionally join the same fraternity, but that wasn’t the case. When asked about it, Past Sage and current Third Counselor Mitchell responded, “we actually didn’t tell each other which fraternity we were going to join, it just happened.”  Mitchell continued, “we didn’t plan it that way, but it ended up working out pretty well.” As a double major in Political Science and Economics, a breed for the perfect behavioral scientist, Mitchell was being quite humble in referencing the rarity of this situation. To him, the brothers have the same friend group and enjoy the same activities, as anyone might presume triplet boys would, so building on this existing brotherhood seemed like an underdog bet that any veteran might take.

Despite being triplets, the Priest brothers do not pay much mind to the fact. Currently, the brothers live in a house together and operate not as triplets, but as triplets and Sigma Pi brothers – good friends no different from the bonds that exist at any other chapter.  They have the same friends, they go to the same parties, they are all involved in the chapter and most importantly, they are singular members of a greater community. Fraternal brothers by blood and greek life, whom oddly enough, do not have a picture together.

Break the Silence Mon, 10 Sep 2018 21:20:30 +0000 It was a crisp Saturday morning in March. The bright blue sky shined down on the hundreds of attendees gathered together to raise awareness for mental health. It was the eighth annual Break the Silence 5k held by Rho Chapter at North Carolina State University.  

The 420 participants gathered in solidarity to celebrate the beauty of life all while remembering that they are never alone in their struggles.

Live music floated through the air as people openly shared their struggles with mental health. One attendee who wished to remain anonymous mentioned “I struggle with mental health issues, I think it’s a part of life. It’s amazing to see everyone come together; it really makes me feel like I’m not alone.”

The Break the Silence 5K began in 2011 as an event hosted by Rho in memory of their brother, Marc Haege (North Carolina State ‘08), who took his life in 2010. Since its conception, the 5K has raised thousands of dollars for the North Carolina State Counseling Center, this year alone Rho raised just over $11,000.

Sage Sam Covington (North Carolina State ‘19) pointed out the importance of hosting events such as the 5K, “we host this event in the hopes that those suffering seek help. By providing the Counseling Center these funds they can utilize resources to help combat the problems. We are making a difference, and we are saving lives.”

In 2015, Rho partnered with Triangle Survivors of Suicide and have since raised and donated over $70,000 to the Suicide Prevention Fund at the NC State Counseling Center.

With these donations, the Counseling Center has trained thousands of students in QPR which stands for Question. Persuade. Refer., and teaches suicide prevention training, lifesaver training, and have started a mental health ambassador program for peers to educate the campus community on issues of health and wellness.

A moving moment was carried out before the race by David Hagan, the founder of Life Brothers; an organization brings men together in their struggles in life. He reminded the audience that they are never alone and that despite what society tells men, it is ok to cry and talk about the hardships of life. He stated “we all need love, acceptance, and hope. If we don’t discuss our fears and failures, we falsely assume we are in our never alone.”

Stop the stigma – don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Call the confidential suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text CONNECT to 741741

Grand Sage Travels: A Trip Around the Country Mon, 10 Sep 2018 21:07:46 +0000 Over the last academic year, Grand Sage Steve Lawler (Iowa ’82) traveled across the country visiting chapters, meeting brothers, attending events, and so much more. According to GS Lawler, “it was important to show the chapters that I cared about their individual needs and opinions. I wanted to visit chapters in several regions to have a better understanding of what the international organization needs to provide to enhance a positive fraternal experience.”

GS Lawler traveled to the west coast and visited 11 chapters, the east coast for another 11 chapters, completed a mini Midwest tour visiting three chapters and finally, visited another six chapters down south.

Overall, GS Lawler stated, “every trip and every chapter was a memorable experience. The opportunity to see a broad section of the Sigma Pi world has been incredibly valuable in increasing my understanding of how Sigma Pi functions across the land. A huge thanks to Director of Strategic Growth Lanse Macke (Oregon State ’15), Assistant Executive Director Joe Drain (Florida State ’10), Executive Director Jon Frost (UMSL ’02), Grand First Counselor Les Wright (Murray State ’70), and Grand Second Counselor Joe Palazzolo (Monmouth ’03) for accompanying me in the different regions. Thanks to all the undergraduate brothers and regional alumni who took the time to welcome me to their chapter.”

GS Lawler began his adventure with Macke and Omega at Oregon State University to recognize their 1,000th initiate. They then traveled on to Iota at University of California-Berkeley, where Steve noted: “it was fun to experience everything about Berkeley.
The atmosphere on campus and within the community was remarkable.” GS Lawler and Macke then went on to embrace the beauty of Santa Clara University with Zeta-Eta, where he presented the Grand Sage Cup to Chapter leadership with Father Art Liebscher (Santa Clara ’69), a dedicated alumnus of Zeta-Eta Chapter. After that, they continued to visit and enjoy an excellent dinner with Iota-Eta at the University of California-Santa Cruz.

From there the duo traveled south where they absorbed the Central Valley of Fresno with Alpha-Xi at California State University-Fresno and the beautiful views of the ocean near California Polytechnic State-San Luis Obispo with Eta-Delta.

GS Lawler continued to visit with Beta-Omicron at California State University-Long Beach, Epsilon-Nu at California State University-Fullerton, and California State University-Irvine. He finished his day by attending dinner with the local leaders and alumni from these chapters.

He wrapped up part one of his adventure with Eta-Iota at California State University-Dominguez Hills where he stated, “I was impressed by the efforts of the brothers and enjoyed a wonderful event at the UCLA alumni dinner.” 

GS Lawler makes a point to attend most, if not all, chartering celebrations and Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham was no exception. He took advantage of his time on the east coast with GSC Palazzolo as he guided GS Lawler through New Jersey and the chapters that lie within. GS Lawler noted, “the 11 chapters in the New Jersey Province are like one big happy family. They are involved with each other and support all the brothers and alumni as a high functioning province. The province is filled with energetic and passionate brothers who are enjoying a great fraternity experience and then graduate to successful careers in their chosen fields. The ocean and the people make the area a stronghold for Sigma Pi.”

They started their trip with Alpha-Mu at New Jersey Institute of Technology in which GS Lawler met with former Chapter Director Sam Givas and continued onto Delta-Epsilon at Seton Hall University where Michael Bizzoco (Seton Hall ’19) showed GS Lawler a Bloomberg Terminal, the same one he uses during his internship at Goldman Sachs. They ended their busy day with Iota-Iota at Montclair State University, and Delta-Beta at Monmouth University where GS Lawler attended a Monmouth basketball game.

The next day they traveled to Theta-Tau at William Paterson University, enjoyed lunch with Iota-Phi at FDU-Florham, and finished with Gamma-Eta at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

From there they met with Past Grand Sage Don Cox (Temple ’55) and attended a Founders’ Day luncheon with Theta-Delta formerly of The College of New Jersey. They continued onto Zeta-Chi at Rowan University, Iota-Upsilon at Stockton University, and ended their day with a Founders’ Day event put on by the Jersey Shore Alumni Club.

GS Lawler finished his trip with a visit to Iota-Tau at St. John’s University in which he noted, “this was my first visit to St. John’s. I was surprised to find such a spacious and inviting campus setting in the middle of New York City.”

As he continued his travels, in mid-March, GS Lawler conducted a mini-tour through the Midwest by visiting and presenting on important health and safety issues at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville with Delta-Omega and other Greek Life. While in the area, he also visited Iota-Zeta at the University of Minnesota and Delta-Zeta at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. GS Lawler commented, “these three schools provided the contrast of a college town school at SIU-Edwardsville, a university surrounded by the Twin Cities, and a commuter school in St. Louis.”

AED Joe Drain accompanied GS Lawler on his tour of the south. Together, they toured Iota-Kappa at University of Central Florida, Iota-Sigma at University of South Florida, and AED Drain’s alma mater Eta-Epsilon at Florida State, in which GS Lawler noted that “the Chapter is moving into an amazing house next year.”

From there they traveled north to visit Alpha-Delta at Auburn University, Epsilon-Alpha at Kennesaw State University—where they visited the piece of the Berlin Wall on display at the University—and Alpha-Phi at the University of Georgia.

GS Lawler commented on his trip down south, “after leaving snow-covered Iowa, it was nice to hit the warm weather in the south. The fraternity system is very strong in this area and I enjoyed the traditional fraternity culture of the south.”

Lawler noticed one thing during his various visits. “Every brother and chapter are different, but everyone wants the same things: brotherhood, a fun social life, a college degree, a great fraternity experience, and the opportunity for a successful career and happy life.”

GS Lawler has been an extraordinarily active and impactful member of the Grand Council, visiting nearly 50 chapters across the country over his four years and making numerous positive changes during this biennium. To him, “the most rewarding and memorable part of [his] term has been these recent tours of the country to bring the goodwill of Sigma Pi to the local level.”

Founders’ Award Recipient: PGS John Williams Fri, 13 Jul 2018 14:50:00 +0000 Past Grand Sage John Williams (Widener ‘85) is set to receive the Founders’ Award, the highest honor within Sigma Pi, at the 54th Biennial Convocation held in Niagara Falls, NY.

The Founders’ Award is strictly reserved for the most exemplary members of our organization for their contributions within their profession, their community, the Fraternity, or other field of endeavor, including “service to God and Man.”

PGS Williams received a Bachelor of Arts from Rider University and went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from Widener University School of Law and has since become a prominent lawyer with a successful private practice in Delaware. His practice regularly employs undergraduate Sigma Pi brothers as law clerks and many go on to become lawyers; he even has the privilege of practicing law with several Sigma Pi attorneys.

During his time in college. PGS Williams joined a Fraternity, Phi Sigma Epsilon which merged with Phi Sigma Kappa in 1982. Upon finding this out, PGS E. Andrew Morris (Murray State ’70) informed PGS Williams that he could either pay $50 to become a member of Phi Sigma Kappa or be initiated into Sigma Pi. PGS Williams began his quest for excellence with Sigma Pi when he was initiated as an alumnus in 1985 and since being initiated, PGS Williams has dedicated his life to the Fraternity.

He has been an active volunteer as Chapter Director of Widener University in 1983-2002, Ursinus College in 2005-2010, St. Joseph’s University in 2005-2012, University of Delaware in 2006-2017, and Salisbury University since 2017. He has served as the Mid-Atlantic Province Archon since 1983.

PGS Williams was elected to the office of Grand First Counselor in 1988, 1994, and 1996. He was elected Grand Third Counselor in 1998, Grand Second Counselor in 2000, Grand Sage in 2002, and Past Grand Sage in 2004. He also served as Trustee for Educational Foundation from 2002-2006.

“When I think of the person John is, that is someone that I hope to be some day,” said Christopher Pucchio (Saint Joseph’s ’14), who worked very closely with PGS Williams as an undergraduate. “I think very highly of him and look up to him as one of my biggest role models. The way he carries himself is in a way that is so rare and genuine it simply cannot be recreated or duplicated.”

He has spent his life devoting himself to the betterment of the undergraduate and alumni brothers by visiting over 110 undergraduate chapters and alumni clubs. Additionally, he has often presented across the country on essential matters such as risk management, officer training, finance, social media, and housing corporations. He has participated in hundreds of Sigma Pi rituals, charterings, initiations of new brothers, installation of new officers, funerals and memorial services. He has also been an avid attendee of Convocation, Mid-Year Leadership Conference, and Summer Leadership Schools since 1984.

Conner Stacy (Stockton ‘06) testified to the powerful impact PGS Williams makes, “About three years ago I was lucky enough to have met John Williams, better known as ‘Dubbs’ to some. I think very highly of Dubbs and look up to him as one of my biggest role models. While Dubbs may be down in Delaware, he has made multiple trips up to Stockton University during the Iota-Upsilon Chapter’s process of becoming a full Chapter as well as put time aside to talk on the phone to give other brothers and myself advice or just to chat and catch up. From making the three-hour trip during a nasty rain storm on a week night for a meeting that lasted past midnight before we were even affiliated with Sigma Pi, to colonization and chartering, Dubbs has provided the Iota-Upsilon with chapter countless stories, wisdom, advice, and has shown us what brotherhood really is.”

Sigma Pi has not only given PGS Williams the opportunity to become a mentor but also a friend. He has participated in 17 Sigma Pi wedding parties, 11 of them as the best man.

PGS Williams also created a scholarship in memory of his brother, David Bruce Williams (TCNJ ‘04), who initiated as an alumnus in 2004. His family has provided funds for the Foundation which provides scholarship money to Sigma Pi undergraduate brothers who have good personal qualities which make them, overall, fine brothers and men. Scholarships have been awarded at the University of Delaware, St. Joseph’s University, and Salisbury University.

According to Grand Sage Steve Lawler (Iowa ’82), “John Williams exemplifies everything you could ask for in a Founders’ Award winner. He has a successful law practice, is a faculty member at the University of Delaware, past SPEF trustee, Past Grand Sage, and is currently a Chapter Director and Province Archon. John’s number one qualification for this award is his mentoring, advising and caring for hundreds of undergraduate brothers over his long career of volunteer service to Sigma Pi.”