articles by chapter

SAE Official Store
News From HQ

No posts found!

The Record Online

The Record Online is the official online publication for Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Alongside the printed magazine The Record, this publication is dedicated to chapter and alumni news, events and opportunities, and serves a way for brothers to stay connected with the organization.

A Triumphant Return as a Rechartered Chapter

by Jim Mottern (Idaho ’70)

On March 9, the 168th anniversary of the founding of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, the Idaho Alpha chapter was rechartered with 17 bright promising young men filled with fraternity spirit toward each other and PA zeal. This is a far change from when the chapter was closed in 2018 at the alumni’s request because active members were not living the values of the fraternity. Chapter members at the time were suspended.

Last semester, the Idaho Alpha Emerging Chapter (aka colony) completed its rechartering petition package. A national fraternity representative visited 920 Deakin, and another participated in Zoom sessions where the Emerging Chapter men presented their goals for the chapter and answered questions.

The young men were overjoyed when they heard the positive decision to present the Idaho Alpha Emerging Chapter to the Supreme Council for their vote. They formed a circle and did the PA chant.

This is the first of two emails to communicate the special occasion for people who were not able to attend the celebration and events.

Idaho Alpha’s rechartering was honored by the attendance of Mark McDonough (Youngstown State ’98; ESA), Chris Hancock (Indiana State ’99; CEO and ESR), Larry Jones (Mississippi State ’71; President of Finance & Housing Corporation), and Steve Mitchell (Indiana ’83; President of the SAE Foundation). These national leaders flew from the East Coast, Chicago, and the South to attend the rechartering events in remote Moscow, Idaho.

Top Left: Mark McDonough; Bottom Left: Chris Hancock; Top Right: Larry Jones; Bottom Right: Steve Mitchell

The celebration began Friday night with the Neophyte Ceremony in the formal room of the chapter house (Neophyte is a Greek word for uninitiated person). The ceremony, new to me, is now conducted before each chapter initiation. The closed ritual book is passed around soon-to-be-initiated men and SAE brothers. When the ritual book is handed to each man, he has 2 or 3 minutes to tell others in the room what the journey to become an SAE has meant or what SAE has meant in his life. There were about 50 alumni brothers and soon-to-be-initiated undergraduates in the room. Several alumni brothers teared up emotionally when it became their turn to discuss how our fraternity affected their lives. Personally, I was moved by the words I heard.

Since 1932, we have all connected through 920 Deakin in some way. During the weekend, I reflected that SAE is for life in good times and bad times if you want it to be. For example, Friday night, I met the son of a brother in my era who had just returned from Vietnam when he and I went on a “double date” near Robinson Lake in August 1968. That blind date for him developed into a marriage that produced a Pledge Class of 1992 member.

After the 90-minute Neophyte Ceremony, the soon-to-be-initiated men posed for a group picture. One of the initiates is the father of a son who also was initiated.

Saturday morning was a celebration of Idaho Alpha’s Special Friends: Little Sisters of Minerva, Violet Queens, and Order of Violet members (women who have demonstrated significant commitment and loyalty to SAE). Again, the formal room was filled with alumni brothers, soon-to-be SAEs, and our special friends. The ladies talked about their connection to Idaho Alpha; many told personal stories. One Violet Queen told us that when each of the 5 finalists was asked to display their special skill at the finalist dinner, she put a wad of chewing tobacco in her mouth, which blew away SAEs and gave her a headache. Another Violet Queen explained that during her finalist dinner, her question was, “Do you believe in pre-martial interdigitation?” (holding hands before marriage). There were a lot of other funny and meaningful stories. Little Sister Stephanie Staab was there to celebrate her son’s initiation. Heidi Brown also attended to be with her soon-to-be SAE son. She had memorized the True Gentleman.

Not all our special friends who attended dinner later in the evening could join us. The women who could be with us Saturday morning received a rose.

Early afternoon initiation was held in the Saint Augustine Center. Mark McDonough led the initiation with Gary Garnand (Idaho ’70) again presenting a beautifully memorized significant part of the ceremony. Every time I hear the ritual, I remember something different from my undergraduate years in Idaho. At the end of the initiation ceremony, it was a pleasure to watch the new SAEs touch their member badge for the first time.

The rechartering banquet in the SUM (aka Bruce Pitman Center) was filled with awards and a good time. Bruce Pitman attended as our guest.

Our new SAE brothers like to sing traditional Idaho Alpha songs and are quite good at it thanks to Rick Carr (Idaho ’67) and the chapter song leader Caleb Staab (Idaho ’24).

National SAE staff members Noah Haddaway (Frostburg State ’21) and Pete Engle (Millikin ’00) presented a new chapter flag to Cade Gulstrom EDA.

Karen Gowland (Idaho Kappa Kappa Gamma) was surprised when she was awarded the Order of Violet for her 5 years of service as the secretary in the SAE committee that worked to bring SAE back to the University of Idaho. Little Sister Karen has been a loyal supporter along the rechartering journey.

Immediately after Karen received her award the newly initiated SAE assembled in front of the stage and sang “Violets” to honor her. This was an unplanned spontaneous event.

Jim Mottern (Idaho ’70) presented the Alumni brother award of appreciation to Dan Alsaker (Idaho ’72) for his 5 years of work to restore Idaho Alpha.

Chris Hancock recognized Ethan Moore as the first new Idaho Alpha Emerging Chapter member 2 years ago. The initiation fulfilled his long-held dream of being a SAE.

Dan Alsaker was surprised when Mark McDonough announced that he was to be honored with the SAE Distinguished Service Award. Dan came close to tears when he heard the announcement. He marveled when he received the award from Chris Hancock and Mark McDonough that he was one of the 161 SAEs nationally who have received this award.

Young and old SAE brothers gathered together at the end of the dinner for a final picture.

Then, the new SAEs began another PA chant with Mark McDonough.

And ended with an excellent rendition of “Friends” (thanks to Rick Carr’s song practices).

Sunday morning I left Moscow elated. The new SAEs are sharp and very close to each other. They have extraordinary PA zeal. The new SAE brothers were so personally impacted by the weekend that after the rechartering celebration dinner, instead of going out to celebrate, they returned to the chapter house to discuss what the initiation ceremony meant to them.

Phi Alpha,

Jim Mottern (Idaho ’70)

related articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to stay up to date?

Follow the link to subscribe to The Record Online