History and Facts
SigEp was founded on November 1, 1901 at Richmond College by 12 original Founding Fathers. Each of the Founders were balanced men who went on to be great in their own professional fields. They acted on their ideals and goals and set high standards for all brothers to follow. You can read more about each one below. Carter Ashton Jenkens was born in Oxford, North Carolina, on April 9, 1882, and received his early education in New Jersey. He graduated from Richmond College in June, 1902, and then taught for two years at Chase City, Virginia, Military Academy and Richmond Preparatory. He received a baccalaureate degree in the ministry at Crozer Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, and served for more than 20 years as a pastor in churches in Hampton, Norfolk, and Richmond, finally to become an evangelist and conduct revivals throughout the United States. His gift for inspiring oratory was so outstanding that the famed evangelist “Billy Sunday” is reported on one occasion to have exclaimed, “If only the Almighty had blessed me with the voice of Carter Jenkens!” His twilight years were spent in Louisville, Kentucky, where he died on July 23, 1952.
The performance of the Ritual is the central experience that ties all SigEp brothers together. These private ceremonies offer a consistent bond for brothers that spans both geographic and generational boundaries. While the specific details of the Ritual are secret, the impact of it is clearly visible. SigEps aspire to live out the Ritual every day, as they go about leading lives of Virtue, Diligence and Brotherly Love. Though the Rites of Passage for brothers are closed to the outside world, SigEp does have some open Rituals and public ceremonies, for occasions such as graduation, giving your Fraternity pin to a longtime girlfriend and funeral services.
The creed of Sigma Phi Epsilon was written by Oscar E. Draper, Washington State ‘19, who served as Grand President from 1928-30. I believe in the American college fraternity. I believe in Sigma Phi Epsilon. I believe in this fraternity because it would have me strive in every way to live up to the high principles for which it stands.These are VIRTUE, DILIGENCE, AND BROTHERLY LOVE. I believe that the word Virtue is an inclusive term; that it is not enough that I be merely passively virtuous: I must be positive on virtue’s behalf. Therefore, I will stand aggressively for honesty in all walks of life, and I will speak cleanly, play cleanly, and live cleanly. Whenever I can, I will oppose lawlessness and vice. I believe that unless I succeed in being Diligent, I cannot be a good fraternity member. Believing that my fraternity can be no greater than any of its members, I shall strive to make it so high and so worthy that men will consider it an honor and privilege to belong to it, and will strive to be admitted to it. I will not offer concessions to an individual to secure his affiliation, for thus making concessions makes the man more noteworthy than the fraternity and hence onlysucceeds in lowering it in his estimation as well as mine. I believe that Brotherly Love must be given in order to be received, and that it cannot exist without triumph of the principles of Virtue and Diligence, for these are essential parts of it. I believe that a man will be made better for having been a member of my fraternity. I know that I cannot expect the Neophyte to be a finished product. Rather I will try to discover whether or not the environment and contact with men of high ideals will make of him a good fraternity man. I believe that as a good fraternity member I must share a rich kinship of spirit with my brothers. Yet I realize that the members must be men of diversified abilities and talents. Among them are to be found the scholar, the athlete, the builder and craftsman, and the organization leader. But the scholar cannot make a fraternity. Nor can the athlete. Nor the craftsman. The good fraternity member must be par excellent in manhood. I believe that to be a good member I must be loyal to my fraternity. In order to be loyal to it I must love it. In order to love it I must strive constantly to make it worthy of my love. To be loyal to my fraternity I must gain a knowledge of it so that I may understand it. I have an obligation to understand what brotherhood means. I believe that in any organized society group rights and privileges are based on individual rights and privileges; that in my fraternity I possess the same rights and privileges and have the same duties as my fellow members. Therefore, I shall at all times respect duly the rights of others. I believe that obedience to the laws of my community and my country is essential to good citizenship; that the laws and rules of my fraternity and my chapter are intended to regulate the actions of its members, one with another, and that without fidelity to those laws and rules I cannot be a good citizen and a worthy member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. I believe I should be generous with the faults of a brother, as I should wish him to be with mine.