Our SAE History

Facts and Stats:

  • 212 total chapters + 9 colonies = 221 total groups

  • The average chapter size is 48 men.

  •  The average colony size is 28 men.

  • 12,583 undergraduate/collegiate members.

  • 334,727 initiated members since our founding in 1856.

  • 28,936 collegiate brothers have graduated from our annual John O. Moseley Leadership School.

  • There are 240,755 living alumni in the Fraternity.

The True Gentleman and what it means

 The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.

 - John Walter Wayland

For more than half a century, our new members have recited "The True Gentleman," and no other words, save perhaps those of the ritual of initiation, have more nearly represented the ideals of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. It may be that few members have ever been able to exemplify all the attributes set forth in the statement, but it does set forth the perfecting purpose of the Fraternity. 

Many years ago Judge Walter B. Jones, past Eminent Supreme Archon of SAE, came upon "The True Gentleman" and printed it in an Alabama Baptist Quarterly, which he edited. He sent a copy of the magazine to John Moseley, who was powerfully struck by the elegant words which accorded with his own philosophy of gentlemanliness. Moseley started using it in the Leadership Schools in the 1930s and it caught on quickly in chapters all across the land. Although John Moseley never claimed authorship, many came to believe that he had composed "The True Gentleman."

Because SAEs had no idea who the author was, The Phoenix indicated that the piece was simply "anonymous."  In the 1970s, Phoenix editor Joe Walt discovered that "The True Gentleman" was also printed in a manual used at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and that its author was John Walter Wayland. It turns out that many years ago, The Baltimore Sun conducted a competition for the best definition of a true gentleman. John Walter Wayland's submission was the winner. Thus it was printed in the Baltimore newspaper and was repeated in many publications thereafter. 

No matter who the author, "The True Gentleman" reflects a major part of the substance of the ritual of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. New members memorize it and are asked to recite it. Awards are given to brothers who are thought best to exemplify it. Why do we regard it so highly, and what's in it for you as a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon? Every organization is strengthened by tangible forms of a ritual. Athletic teams have mascots; churches have written rituals. Commercial enterprises have slogans, and countless private organizations of individuals, who have chosen to belong for any variety of reasons, have statements of philosophy that define and express their beliefs. Not only does "The True Gentleman" remind each member of his Fraternity's code of behavior, it also serves that same function for non-members. And since it is something every member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has in common, it helps bond us, providing part of the glue that holds us together. After all, gentlemanliness is the starting point and the indispensable quality of lasting friendships.


The SAE Mission

Each entity of Sigma Alpha Epsilon operates under its own mission, and each board of directors maintains that mission through a vision or plan.

The Fraternity's mission is advancing the highest standards of friendship, scholarship, leadership and service for our members throughout life.

SAE -Phoenix Alumni, Inc.

The SAE-Phoenix Alumni, Inc. (“SAE-PA”) was formed in 2015 as a 501c(7) organization to represent the sixth largest US city with its broad SAE residents from over 150 chapters. Originally, it was a long standing Chapter AA for Arizona Beta but was merged after the closure of the chapter in 2014.

Upon inception, SAE-PA established an investment committee to oversee the management of over $200,000 that was gifted to it from the proceeds of the AZ Beta chapter property and to insure that SAE-PA remains a good steward of the funds. SAE-PA has also established a Scholarship Committee to create guidelines for the use of those funds to undergraduates in Arizona and within Province Upsilon.

While there is a long history of SAE alumni involvement in Phoenix, most notably by hosting the 1997 SAE National Convention, this new SAE-PA invigorated what had become a dormant association after the closing of the local chapter. With the help of an 8-member dedicated board of directors, the SAE-PA has hosted over 17 events since 2015 including luncheons, founders days, SAE Day of Service participation, golf tournaments and ASU colony initiations/events.

What makes this such a wonderful group is the dedication of directors that represent diverse chapters such as NE L-P, TX AL, AZ BE, OK KA, OH AL, AZ GA and PA C-O. They have met every month for the past two years, maintained detailed minutes, investment oversight, event planning, website, communications, membership and assistance to the ASU Colony. Each of these committees is headed by a board member with status updates at every meeting.

The SAE-PA utilizes Eventbrite for sign-up to events which tracks attendance and payments. We do not charge an annual fee for alumni membership and often we subsidize undergraduates at our events. We have obtained the names of alumni contacts from the SAE National Office that now exceed 2,700 names. Email solicitation goes out well in advance of each function as well as a newsletter and updated website with links. Many alumni use Facebook and Linkedin as another means of gaining attendance.

A recent highlight was hosting 2018 Founders Day with Will Grimsley as keynote speaker. It provided an opportunity to for the SAE-PA to announce the three (3) $1,000 scholarships recipients in 2017-18 from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and ASU. Additionally, the board has provided four (4) Leadership School scholarships of $500 each in 2017 and three (3) in 2018. Further, the SAE-PA just funded $5,000 for new furniture for the ASU Greek Village that will house the ASU Colony with move-in this August, 2018.

The success of this area alumni association is that we've operated with positive cash flow or break-even at our events since inception while still providing scholarship assistance.

Briefly describe how the area alumni association is involved with local undergraduate chapters.

The AZ Beta chapter was closed by ASU in 2013 and allowed back to campus as a colony in 2017. The SAE-PA was instrumental in working with the national staff extension and chapter development members to recruit and organize the colony. That included forming a separate group of alumni advisors who have worked with the colony since then. According to the staff, it appears that the ASU Colony is ahead of schedule and should be ready for charter in January, 2019.

The SAE-PA has sent alumni to initiation and rush events. In January, 2018, we hosted a pre-ASU basketball game event and wings that was attended by over 50 alumni as well as the colony members. As noted in the previous section, our SAE-PA has provided $5,000 for furniture in the new colony 9,400 SF building which opens in the ASU Greek Village this August. Our association is now providing attention to the wonderful, but small chapter at AZ Delta (Embry Riddle University) in Prescott. It started with the encouragement of scholarship and Leadership School assistance and is now expanding to advisors & mentors. We have sent alumni to visit the chapter 60 miles north of Phoenix. We have reached out to the AZ Alpha chapter at the University of Arizona but they have rejected our efforts and appears to be on a cease and desist order.

We invite the local undergraduates to all of our events and have paid for up to four free golf tournament fees for them. This provides an opportunity for the undergraduates to be paired with older alumni to expand a more diverse brotherhood. Our September monthly event will be hosted at the Greek Village as a way to introduce alumni to the new property.

At the 2017 Leadership School that was held in Phoenix, we had four alumni from the SAE-PA who attended the final banquet. We are planning even greater participation in 2018 when it returns in August.

As its SAE National Day of Service project in April, 2018, the SAE-PA, in conjunction with the ASU Colony, was proud to assist HORSES HELP, a premier accredited therapeutic organization that serves the special needs and at-risk community by using horses and people to improve quality of life. There were over 22 alumni and undergraduate volunteers who participated in property clean-up, fence repair and maintenance before the big fund raising event later that night.