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.

Michael Relf is a member of the South Dakota Theta chapter at South Dakota State University. He is a devoted supporter of the SAE Foundation because he believes in the mission of SAE and wants to ensure that current undergraduates can benefit from their membership. He is a Silver Level donor ($5,000-9,999) and made one of the largest donations to the Shrine of Minerva Campaign. Read more about Michael below and click here for more information about the SAE Foundation.

What is your favorite SAE memory?

Attending the National Leadership School (1984, 1986) and the annual Province Tau Leadership School and just hanging out with the brothers are certainly important memories to me.  My favorite SAE memory is from Leadership School in 1986 when SD Theta was recognized with the John O. Moseley Award for Fraternity Zeal.

What offices did you hold?

As an undergraduate at South Dakota Theta (South Dakota State University), I had the privilege of serving the fraternity as Eminent Archon, Eminent Deputy Archon, Rush Chair, Pledge Educator, and Eminent Preceptor.  As Eminent Preceptor, I memorized that role of the ritual and enjoyed sharing the meaning of our insignia and coat-of-arms when brothers were initiated into SAE.

How has SAE impacted your life?

As an undergraduate fraternity brother, I learned many valuable life lessons and made lifelong friends. I learned how to listen and about the difference.  I learned how to conduct a business meeting. I learned about the importance of service to others. I think learning about difference has been one of the most valuable life lessons from SAE.

Why do you give to SAE?

The fraternity’s mission, with its focus on leadership, scholarship, and service in addition to friendship, is critical in shaping tomorrow’s global citizens. As a first-generation college student, I personally benefitted from higher education. In turn, I feel a strong sense of obligation to pay it forward – this is why I give to national SAE.

What have you done professionally?

Following graduation from South Dakota State University, I worked as a nurse and continued my education, ultimately earning a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Currently, I am an associate professor of nursing and global health at Duke University. Life’s journey has taken me to Sub-Saharan Africa, where I develop and test stigma reduction interventions for persons living with HIV.

What advice do you have for undergraduates?

The True Gentleman is something that remains very important to me.  As a young man and fraternity brother, I remember memorizing these important words.  However, as I have grown older, I have understood and deeply appreciate these words and try to live by them in my personal and professional life.  I would encourage today’s undergraduates to truly live a life as a True Gentleman. In doing so, an individual can make a difference in today’s complex world.