I just attended an SAE (Sigma Alpha Epsilon) Founder’s Day event hosted by the Central Iowa Alumni Association this past Friday. It never ceases to amaze me how many quality folks are drawn to SAE in college…only to produce productive members of society.
I was one of those guys that poopoo’d fraternities as beer guzzling excuses for inferiors during my freshman year of college. Then, during rush week sophomore year, I was passing by a booth and someone approached me and asked me to read something on a plaque. He said, "This is what our fraternity is all about",
- The True Gentleman
- The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good
will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal
to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his
poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his
inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels
him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before
power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with
frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows
his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than
his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is
sacred and virtue safe.
- —John Walter Wayland (Virginia Omicron Chapter 1899)
Shortly after this encounter, I pledged and joined what was at the time a "Colony" of SAE at CSU Pomona. We would later earn our national charter and I’d become a charter member of the Cal Alpha Beta Chapter of SAE. Sure there were the beer guzzling debauchery times….but there were plenty of times when we young men were faced with becoming responsible True Gentlemen in the face of adversity and challenge. Those moments shape the fortitude of men…and we shined. Most of the closest bonds of friendship I’ve formed are with those fraternity brothers. Their wives became my wife’s friends…their kids raised with ours, etc.
Thank you to the Central Iowa Alumni Association of SAE for putting on a nice event and welcoming me. It was great to sing and revel in the honor and tradition of our great fraternity together.