Sigma Alpha Epsilon depends on your generosity to elevate our members’ experience to the highest levels—learning how to become True Gentlemen and taking that knowledge out into the world. We want to highlight just one of our many donors who support this organization.
Bob Watts is a member of the Massachusetts Beta-Upsilon chapter at Boston University. He is a devoted supporter of the SAE Foundation because he wants to ensure that SAE can provide future generations the same opportunities and benefits that he received from fraternal membership. He is an Amethyst Level donor ($50,000-74,999) and a Warden Level donor ($2,000-4,999) of the 2020-2021 Archon Circle. Read more about Bob below and click here for more information about the SAE Foundation.
What is your favorite SAE memory?
My number one favorite SAE memory was the Patty Murphy party during my senior year in conjunction with our brother chapters at MIT and Harvard University. The coordination between the three chapters and the fact that we were all able to pull this off as a total surprise is my most memorable event. To this day, if I see someone in an airport wearing a Patty Murphy tee shirt, I always approach them to say Phi Alpha and ask if they enjoyed the party!!!
What offices did you hold?
For three semesters, I was the Member Educator for our chapter. As an alumnus, I am active in the SAE Foundation and currently serve as chairman of the Audit Committee. I also participate and support the Massachusetts Beta-Upsilon Alumni Association.
How has SAE impacted your life?
I have always tried to be guided by the True Gentleman in everything that I’ve done, both professionally and personally. It has provided an excellent moral foundation for my management career and also a guide in my personal life with my wife and our three sons. SAE has also given me the opportunity to meet brothers in all parts of the country and in many different occupations. From doctors, farmers, accountants, lawyers – even a Federal Judge in a court case in California!! It never ceases to amaze me the common bond and rapport that we instantly have just by being brothers in SAE.
Why do you give to SAE?
I view my donations to SAE as a way to provide a legacy to future young men so that they might have the same growth opportunities and enjoyment from our fraternity as I have experienced. As a second-generation SAE, I know the value of that legacy and want to see it passed on. Our three sons were all recruited college athletes – had been brainwashed to go SAE – but each college that they chose did not have an active SAE chapter.
What motivated you to join the Foundation Board of Trustees?
To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of the SAE Foundation before Ed Fuller contacted me about possibly joining them. It is safe to say I was representative of many of our brothers who enjoyed our college association with SAE but never thought of or were even aware of providing continued financial support for the fraternity. As I contact alumni brothers today, most talk positively about their SAE college experience and their continued chapter connections, but most do not relate to our broader national organization. It is creating that local/national SAE connection that gets our alumni brothers to actively support our fraternity. I really believe that’s the only way that we can ensure that it will be sustained in the future.
What have you done professionally?
My career can be best summarized as joining John Hancock Financial Services upon graduating from BU and spending 38 years with them. I was able to retire early and then spent a 10-year career running my own management consulting and expert witness business practice. My association with John Hancock gave me the opportunity to experience six different industries under their corporate umbrella: insurance sales, pension sales and administration, retail banking, equipment leasing, investment management, and compliance/ethics. It seemed every five years, or so I was moved to a different part of the company, which gave me exposure to a new industry, but in the end, it gave me a wide breadth of business knowledge and financial experience, which was a way to enter into a consulting and expert witness business.
What advice do you have for undergraduates?
Whenever I have the opportunity to visit with some of our undergraduate brothers, I can’t stress to them enough how following the True Gentleman will lead them to a successful business career. Examples I use are ”whose self-control is equal to all emergencies,” i.e., maintaining a clear head in stressful situations and not getting emotionally carried away; “who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy” – It is very important in business-especially management – to be honest, and upfront with people, knowing full well that decisions may be made that you may have spoken against; however in a corporate atmosphere once a decision has been made it is your obligation and responsibility to work hard to support it. “Whose deed follows his word” – meaning if you say you are going to do something, make sure that you do it. Become known as a person who always follows through on any commitments that you make – whatever they are. “A man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.” It goes without saying that all of your conduct must be within the ethical guidelines of your industry/occupation, and you must not get drawn into something that is outside those guidelines – that ordinarily does not have a very positive outcome. I really believe that the principles of the True Gentleman can serve to create a successful career as well as a happy home life, and I have seen that reinforced as I have met Brothers in all parts of the country.