Sigma Phi Epsilon was founded in 1901 on the campus of Richmond College (now called the University of Richmond) in Richmond, Va. The story of its founding by 12 determined men set the stage for the growth and success of one of the country’s premier fraternal organizations. The history of the Fraternity reflects the times, through great wars and profound cultural shifts. Throughout the decades, the men of Sigma Phi Epsilon have practiced their values and embraced the stated desire of the Founders, “This Fraternity will be different.”
Today, the University of Richmond campus features the Sigma Phi Epsilon Founders Walk, (pictured below) a path in the center of campus that honors the 12 men who started what would become one of the nation’s largest fraternities.
Pick a time period below and learn more about SigEp’s legacy:
Facts and Firsts
- SigEp has the highest first-year retention rate for new members.
- SigEp has many famous alumni, such as Theodor S. “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, Author; John Goodman, Actor; and James Naismith, the inventor of basketball.
- SigEp has a “Red Door Policy,” which allows brothers to crash at nearly any SigEp house nationwide.
- SigEp has a strict no hazing policy. The implementation of the Balanced Man Program and elimination of pledging at most chapters was a huge step towards the elimination of hazing.
- SigEps are “Fraternity Men,” not “Frat Boys.”
- SigEps are always wearing their letters, meaning SigEps are Balanced Men 24/7/365 – when someone’s not looking, we still uphold the Balanced Man Ideals.
- SigEp inspires men to lead their industries, start businesses, and change the world.
- SigEp has the strongest leadership program and the backing of our alumni and volunteers.
- SigEp is the most preferred college program in America and the nation’s largest fraternity with more than 15,000 undergraduates.
- SigEp was founded on November 1, 1901, at Richmond College.
- Over the past two decades, SigEp has recruited more men than any other collegiate fraternity.
- There are more than 300,000 lifetime members, which ranks SigEp among the largest national fraternities.
- SigEp maintains a full-time professional staff of over 35 people.
- The SigEp Journal has been published continuously since 1904, and is distributed to all members for life.
- SigEp hosts the largest biennial convention in the fraternity world: the Grand Chapter Conclave.
- SigEp was the first national fraternity to establish a housing trust for all chapters and create a National Housing Corporation.
- SigEp has the greatest number of fraternity houses, with over 200 chapter homes. Of those, over 115 are owned by local SigEp Alumni and Volunteer Corporations.
- The Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation was the first fraternity foundation to build an endowment greater than $11 million.
- The Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. Its program funding is planned to develop the scholarship, leadership, citizenship, and personal potential of college undergraduates.
For more information about SigEp, visit our National Fraternity’s website at www.sigep.org.