Monday, April 28, 2008

Arkansas Alpha Hits 100!

Sigma Phi Epsilon celebrates centennial anniversary
Jennifer Joyner

The Arkansas Alpha Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon had its centennial celebration April 4 at the Fayetteville Town Center.

The event featured several prominent speakers, including grand chapter president Stephen B. Shanklin, chapter counselor Phillip McKnight, alumni board resident Drew Speed and alumni volunteer Jonathan Leonard, and many alumni were in attendance, according to the press release.

Arkansas Alpha was founded at the UA in 1907, six years after the Sig Ep fraternity was founded in 1901 in Richmond, Virginia, according to a press release. The chapter is the first west of the Mississippi River and is the catalyst in making Sig Ep a national fraternity, according to the press release.

The chapter has had several residences on campus but is most known for its presence at 10 Stadium Drive.

A fraternity provides something like a family, which a university cannot do. Fraternity brothers become friends who can count on each other for the rest of their lives, said Shanklin, a 1971 graduate of Murray State University in Kentucky, he was a charter member of the Kentucky Epsilon chapter of Sig Ep, according to the press release.

Sig Ep is the largest national fraternity with more than 14,000 undergraduate members and 260 chapters, according to the Web site.

The fraternity prides itself in its Balanced Man Program, which implements a full four-year membership development plan for its members as opposed to the traditional pledging process, according to the press release.

Sig Ep is different from other fraternities because it works to overcome the "partying" stereotype, said Stu Smith, president of the Arkansas Alpha chapter.The philosophy is to make its members well rounded and balanced in all aspects, including academics, leadership, appearance and overall well-being, Smith said.

The Sig Ep fraternity is here to build balanced men for the future, according to the Web site.

McKnight, Rasco and John Stanley of Little Rock received Lifetime Service Awards, which are given to former members who continue to stay involved in the local group, according to the Sig Ep Web site.

The UA chapter's past century is important, but that the century ahead is more important, Shanklin said.