Recognizing a lifetime of service and loyalty to the Fraternity, the Distinguished Service Award is the highest individual award a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon may receive. Their actions exhibit their understanding of the Fraternity’s teachings, adherence to Fraternity Laws, attention to the promotion of its welfare, and exemplary conduct that guards well its honor and high standing.
The Fraternity has 345,000+ initiated members; only 151 have been recognized with the Distinguished Service Award. Thomas L. Hodges (Arkansas-Fayetteville ‘64) is the most recent recipient, which was posthumously presented in Fayetteville, Arkansas on September 18th, 2021 to his wife Carol, two daughters, and two grandsons, both who are members of the chapter at the University of Arkansas.
Hodges’ roots are traced back to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he developed the Otter Creek residential community and the Gateway Town Center; both projects spanned decades. His unfaltering determination drove both projects through spectacular ups and downs, truly showing his commitment to finishing anything he started. His loyalty was also illustrated in his friendships, remaining close with his childhood friend, Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. Hodges would later serve as President of the Texas Stadium Corporation, which manages the Cowboys’ home field.
Never one to shy away from offering his expertise to others, Hodges served on the Board of Directors of the Pulaski Bank & Trust, the Boys Club of Little Rock, and the City of Little Rock Planning Commission. He was also a member of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Little Rock Rotary Club. Hodges’ loyalty to Arkansas knew no bounds, where his name remains a staple to this day. It was hard to walk the streets of Little Rock without someone recognizing him.
After a long and very successful career in real estate and commercial development, Hodges’ knowledge in those fields was his way of giving back to the Fraternity. While serving as a chapter advisor for the chapter at Southern Methodist University, he also managed its chapter house renovation in the summer of 1991. After moving back to Arkansas in 1994, Hodges immediately joined the Arkansas Alpha-Upsilon House Corporation. He lent his building expertise, overseeing a facility renovation in 2004 and an 8,000 square foot expansion in 2018.
In 2016, Hodges joined the SAE Financial & Housing Corporation Board of Directors, where he held positions of Treasurer, Vice President, and, at the time of entering Chapter Eternal, President. He oversaw the ownership and management of more than ten chapter facilities across the nation. The Fraternity has previously awarded Hodges with the Order of Minerva and the Merit Key for his dedicated service.
The never-ending dedication Hodges showed throughout life, both professionally and personally, represents the virtue all Fraternity members strive to attain. He truly was a man whose conduct proceeded from goodwill. While Hodges’ presence is missed, his legacy lives on forever with those who knew him and are impacted by his exemplary deeds.
Congratulations to Thomas L. Hodges, the 151st recipient of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Distinguished Service Award.
To view more photos from the event click here.