INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA- Conferences like Grand Conclave and Endeavor always add a sense of excitement to the summer as brothers from around the country look forward to a weekend spent in a new city engaging in educational tracks and brotherhood.
The majority of Sig Taus leave the conference feeling refreshed, empowered, and with the flame of their fraternal loyalty and dedication rekindled. However, some individuals leave with well-deserved hardware. Brothers work tirelessly throughout the year to have the opportunity to be recognized as a leader among their peers.
The Theta Chapter at Northwest Missouri State University; Charlie Graves, UNC Charlotte; and Slade Downing, Lindenwoood Belleville; all returned home following Grand Conclave 2018 with awards and recognition of their commitment to Sig Tau. The Theta Chapter received two awards, the Earl A. Webb Most Improved Chapter, and the W.T. Hembree Campus Leadership Award. Charlie Graves received the Principle of Brotherhood Award, and Slade Downing received the Principle of Integrity Award, was inducted into the Noble Man Hall of Fame, and ultimately was chosen as the Ellsworth C. Dent Man of the Year.
For the Theta Chapter and for Charlie, being recognized at all was a surprise. “Going into Grand Conclave, we were hoping to bring back some awards but we did not expect anything,” Joe Suchan, now Theta Chapter President said “To be honest I think while at the conference, the awards gala was not even on any of our member’s minds until the night of. I think that was because of how much fun they were having in their tracks as well as enjoying their time at the resort with brothers from around the country.”
Charlie had a similar sentiment, “Going into the Grand Conclave weekend last year I was not aware I was nominated for the award. It wasn’t until Friday when we got there that I was told that I was nominated. When I was told that I was nominated I never believed that I would be the recipient.”
Winning these awards, and being honored in this way, was a special and humbling experience for all of the men involved. Slade noted that explaining what becoming Dent Man of the Year was like was difficult, “I don’t know if I can fully explain what it is like to be named Dent Man of the Year. During my undergraduate years, I put in so much effort. I put in hundreds of hours, blood, sweat, and tears into this organization and at the end of it all to be recognized for everything that I have done and the sacrifices I have made for the organization was truly an amazing and unforgettable experience.”
Charlie, nominated for the Principle of Brotherhood award by someone in his chapter said, “Winning this award was an incredible experience because it made me feel very honored. It is a great personal accomplishment to be able to have a positive impact on the Brotherhood that was with me through my entire collegiate journey.”
But to Charlie, this award was more than just recognition and a physical award, “Brotherhood is the Principle that binds the rest of the Principles together, Brotherhood not only represents the loyalty and commitment that we dedicate to our fellow Sig Tau’s but also helps lead us to always strive to go out of our way to be present for those who are in need even when it is difficult,” Charlie said. “I believe that if we endeavor to live by the Principle of Brotherhood and always put those around us before ourselves, then the remaining principles will be upheld because of this commitment.”
Joe Suchan added how he believed the Theta Chapter was so successful, and how he believes other chapters can do the same and maybe even come home with an award from Endeavor Atlanta, “Knowing that our members enjoy spending time together and want to be the best is definitely one of the reasons why we can be successful,” Joe said. “The more you can get your members involved around campus, the more fun and better off your chapter will be. Being in these outside organizations, as well as Greek life, lets members meet new people, find more leadership opportunities and keeps members invested as well as engaged within the campus and community.”
ABOUT SIGMA TAU GAMMA FRATERNITY
Founded at the University of Central Missouri on June 28, 1920, the organization will commemorate its 100th Anniversary in 2020. With a presence on 85 campuses in 31 states, our membership includes more than 3,300 undergraduate men and 61,000 living alumni. The Headquarters, which is home to the Fraternity, Foundation, and WPN Housing Company, is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, 12 miles from the center of downtown. Visit http://sigtau.org for additional information.