By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
Celebrating the ties of brotherhood have brought members and alumni together this weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
Searching for a more meaningful set of values, the Sigma Chi chapter was founded by seven guys. Working from the spring of 1963 to the spring of 1967, the former members of Alpha Alpha Chi become members of the national organization of the elite Sigma Chi chapter, said alumni member Peter Lyall.
“They wanted a philosophy and structure that matched what they felt. The Sigma Chi matched that,” Lyall said.
Based on a strong principal of brotherhood, the fraternity has provided members with a strong support system. It has also offered the opportunity for members to learn responsibilities and leadership skills, said Lyall.
The group of alumni that have gathered in Portales to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the chapter say they are filled with pride and a sense of brotherhood that they all share.
“The Greek system on campus is very important. It continues way past the four years of college. It’s an important part of life in general,” said alumni Buz Rothschild.
An example of this bond is evidenced by the forthcoming installation of Gene Powell. Described as the oldest pledge in the fraternity by his Greek brothers, Powell was unable to be installed before he graduated from Eastern New Mexico University.
As a newlywed, finances prevented his installation, Powell said.
Though it has taken 40 years, Powell will be officially installed into the chapter on Saturday night, Lyall said.
“I would say it’s an honor that my brothers in the local chapter asked me and want me to do that (be installed),” Powell said.
Working to put a positive image on the fraternity, the members participate in community service projects and fundraisers to help others. They also participate in helping the Children’s Miracle Network, and will soon be working to help with a cancer organization on a nationwide level with other Sigma Chi chapters, said Josh McCarty, current president.
Helping to grow and mentor 512 members since it’s inception, the chapter has weathered it’s share of troubles. Facing past financial trouble and the fire that destroyed the former chapter house, the strong ties helped to bring things back up to speed, members and alumni said.
“That’s one of the strengths of having the brotherhood,” Lyall said.
Building on the diversity of personalities and backgrounds, the chapter has helped to grow and build many lasting relationships between the brothers that have sustained the span of 40 years.
“There was always someone you could identify with,” said Joe Adams, alumni.
“The key to our success is probably the diversity of our fraternity,” McCarty said.
Celebrating the past and the future, the Sigma Chi has plans to continue on and build upon the foundation that has already been laid for future generations to come.
“We want to share our success and strengths we have gained from Sigma Chi,” Lyall said.