Since the days of Uncle Billy, few men have had such a far-reaching impact on SigEp. One of those men is John Hartman, Missouri ’61. A past Grand President and Order of the Golden Heart recipient, Hartman is perhaps best known for his role as co-founder of the Ruck Leadership Institute, a program he launched in 1998 alongside Jay Hurt, Davidson ‘88. Over the last 16 years, nearly 2,000 undergraduates have attended Ruck. Those assigned to the Red Group, a team of 20 scholars, studied under Brother Hartman himself. His dedication to Ruck was recently honored by a campaign to rename the Red Group ‘Team Hartman,’ funding in perpetuity the attendance of 20 scholars.
This significant undertaking was supported by dozens of donors, who ultimately contributed more than 500,000 dollars to create the Team Hartman endowment. Hartman booked a flight to the recent SigEp donor-appreciation event, A SigEp Homecoming, without knowing what awaited him that weekend. Brothers from around the country traveled to Richmond or prepared video messages for Hartman to relay the impact he has had on their lives.
One such Homecoming attendee was Alex Ashoff, Pittsburgh ’14, who came to Ruck from a chapter whose membership had declined by more than 90 percent. As a member of the Red Group, Ashoff was inspired by Hartman’s encouragement to run for chapter president and begin to rebuild the chapter with his brothers. Ashoff thanked Hartman for teaching him that, “SigEp is bigger than all of us.”
CEO Brian Warren also took the stage to honor Hartman’s five decades of volunteer service and mentorship. He told his own story of participating in the Red Group at Ruck in 2002, and said to the humbled honoree, “You modeled the way in every single way we could hope for.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.