I’d like to ask for you to join me for a moment as we celebrate our tremendous history and heritage.
This Brotherhood, which began 145 years ago today, started out just like everything else. An idea. An idea that six young men crafted in 1873 and one that has captured the hearts and minds of more than 130,000 men to date. This idea is simple. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is not complicated; it is not shrouded in mystery. It is humble. It is direct. And it is our sole responsibility as stewards of this great Brotherhood.
As I reflect on Founders’ Day 2018, I’m drawn to a very memorable Phi Sig moment of my own. A moment when I realized the type of Brother I would strive to be throughout my life.
It’s November 18, 1995. I’m dressed in a tuxedo with boundless energy. I’ve been initiated into Phi Sigma Kappa earlier that day as a Founding Father of Xi Septaton at George Mason University. I’m in Tysons Corner, Virginia. I walk into a nice restaurant with my girlfriend, my family, and 31 other fraternity brothers, their dates, and their families. I can smell the roses on the tables as I walk across the dance floor to get to my seat. It’s taken us three years to become a Chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa, and we’re ready to take on the world! We’ve finally made it happen, and tonight we get to celebrate with those we love.
Grand President Jay Stanley (Tennessee ’62) is at the podium, handing out a few awards and when he is presenting the “Brother of Character” award he calls my name. It’s the final of the three awards, and the audience provides a standing ovation as I accept the award. My eyes water. I feel a small burn in my throat as I get choked up. Jay is giving me a wonderful smile, he shakes my hand, slaps my back, and shares a few ‘Job well done’ comments.
It’s at this defining moment of my life that I realize I will always be involved in Phi Sigma Kappa. I know at that moment I need to give back. I want to provide other men the same opportunity. I want them to have a chance to develop into a leader; to celebrate success and accomplishments with those they trust and respect. Meeting others across the country and sharing Brotherhood that does not have borders. This is how I follow our founding idea and purpose. I seek to spread the feelings of Brotherhood and pride that were imparted unto me and pass them onto others. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Hours later, reflecting on the path I’ve had the prior three years, I think of how much greater my college experience has become since associating with Phi Sigma Kappa. All that I’ve learned at Regional Conclaves, Conventions, and Leadership Schools. The improved development of my character, leadership, and communication skills… I continue to ask myself the next several days, “How do I help give others these same experiences? What can I do to pay it forward? How can I alter other Brothers lives in such a profound way?”
As Grand President, I stand on the shoulders of some of our greatest and most celebrated Brothers. I hope that I will leave a legacy they are proud of. Thankfully, mine is not yet complete.
The reason I share my story and thoughts above is that I’d like to ask you: What is your Phi Sig Legacy? Have you made a measurable impact? As an undergraduate? As an alumnus?
I invite you to consider these questions above and reflect on your Phi Sig experience. Today we celebrate six men’s idea that left a legacy I am sure they would be proud to witness. Life is about the moments that we are both chasing after and others that are running toward us. Today, we have the opportunity to consider how Phi Sig has played a part in those moments that will contribute to our legacy, and what we can do to play a role in Phi Sig’s legacy.
Celebrate with me today as we all strive to add more moments of living as Phi Sig men and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I’d love to be a part of those moments in the same way Brother Jay was for me.
Happy Founders’ Day to you Brother!
Phi Sigma Kappa Grand President