It was Sunday March 9th, 1856 at the University of Alabama where 8 friends came together with a mission to create a legacy that we now know as Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE). They had the goal of creating a brotherhood that would strive to be the highest standard of friendship, scholarship, leadership and service throughout the lives of the brothers. These values still shine true in all that SAE stands for as much as they did in 1856. They have provided young men a community, guidance, culture, and the traits of becoming a true gentleman. So, let’s take a look at some of the most notable faces to join the SAE brotherhood.
Sam Elliott – After relocating to Los Angeles, he began studying acting at Cal State Los Angeles where he became a proud SAE. He also joined the California Air National Guard, 146th Airlift Wing while studying acting at Cal State. Most famously known for his roles in westerns and his distinct mustache, Elliot is a household name, starring recently on the Netflix Original “The Ranch”.
William Faulkner – The 1949 Nobel Prize winner for Literature, joined SAE during his time spent at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss.). One of the most famous names in literature with a list of accolades such as his 2 Pulitzer Prizes and National Book Awards. The 3 semesters he spent at Ole Miss. resulted in the start of some of his poetry being published in the campus publication.
Phil Jackson – Being recruited to the University of North Dakota set Jackson on the path to joining SAE. After college Jackson was a 2nd round draft to the New York Knicks. After his career in the NBA, he didn’t leave basketball behind; he took on coaching for the CBA and BSN leagues. He eventually made his way back to the NBA when he became the head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 1987-1998. During his 9 years leading the Bulls, he won 6 championships, 3 of which were in a row! He eventually became the Head Coach of the LA Lakers, and in 2011, hung up his coaching shoes and didn’t return back to the world of the NBA until 2014, this time as the President of the New York Knicks.
Ed McCaffery – This NFL wide receiver joined SAE while attending and playing football at Stanford University. While at Stanford he was named All-American his Senior year, which turned into much bigger accolades like the 3 Superbowl rings he proudly received in his professional career. With his playing years behind him, McCaffery is the current coach of the Northern Colorado University Football team.
William McKinley – The 25th President of the United States, is among some of the most notable brothers. After graduating from Poland Seminary, McKinley became an honorary Sigma Alpha Epsilon member at Allegheny College and went on to play a major role in some key events in American history.
David Spade – Well known stand-up comedian and American Actor, Spade got his start in the limelight on Saturday Night Live, which became the jumping off point for his successful television and big screen career. He joined SAE while attending Arizona State University.
Byron Wilson - We can’t go without mentioning our personal favorite SAE Alum here at Campus Classics! Here are a few words from our founder; “I actually pledged SAE in the Spring of my senior year in high school—with 70% of the DePauw University enrollment affiliated and active in Greek Life recruitment on campus was competitive. Watching my mom slowly lose her battle to breast cancer that first semester really affected my grades and focus. Yet, it was the men of SAE and especially my fellow pledge-class brothers that rallied around and supported me after her passing just a few weeks into the second semester of that freshman year. Although I missed being initiated with all of them only weeks after her funeral--having the opportunity to be initiated in August later that summer at The Levere Memorial Temple in 1982 as an Honor Initiate was very impacting. The initiation ritual was performed completely by memory, led by the Supreme Council and further influenced my love for the fraternity and especially the sanctity, meaning and importance of the ritual. Eventually starting a small business [Campus Classics] four years after graduation in 1989 focusing on the Greek market was a direct result of my undergraduate experience at Indiana Delta! Indirectly, attending Leadership School’s for twenty+ consecutive years and extending Phi Alpha discounts to fellow brothers as they shopped the SAE licensed sportswear and gift items was a simple way to ‘give back’. My office and man-cave at home each have many SAE items that bring back memories of those special years! “
With such noteworthy members as these it is easy to see how there are over 340,000 initiates, 206,000 living alumni, 215 groups, and 12,000+ active members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. It isn’t surprising to see why so many have their hearts set on being able to wear the SAE royal purple and old gold! From all of us at Campus Classics, Happy Founders Day Sigma Alpha Epsilon, here’s to another 165 years of brotherhood!