Editor’s Note: The Order of the Golden Heart is the Fraternity’s highest honor. Its members have made a measurable impact on the SigEp experience through a lifetime of service, often at great personal sacrifice. The gold medallion was first awarded at the 1959 Conclave. Only 168 SigEp alumni have received this great honor, and members join a lineage of inductees that begins with Founder William “Uncle Billy” Phillips, Richmond 1903.
Here, we share the story of one of the five brothers honored with this award at the 56th Grand Chapter Conclave in Houston.
Long before social media managers existed, there was Bryce Giesler, Tennessee ’82. Giesler has been a creative innovator and technology pioneer for SigEp for more than 35 years. He founded his own blog on SigEp and led social media sessions at Conclave years before Greek organizations started using the internet as a tool for connecting members and alumni.
Giesler joined the Tennessee Alpha chapter when he returned to college after serving in the U.S. Navy. Being a few years older and more mature than some of his classmates, he knew he needed to surround himself with driven, yet humble friends. It was in a university cafeteria that he met just such a group of men and accepted their invitation to join Sigma Phi Epsilon.
Shortly after Giesler graduated, he was asked to join the Texas Delta Alumni and Volunteer Corporation at the University of Houston. Giesler soon took on the chapter counselor role, providing critical support and guidance to chapter leaders. An early indication of his pioneering spirit was when Giesler signed on to serve as balanced man steward for Texas Delta while the Balanced Man Program was still taking hold at chapters across the country.
For many years, Giesler also contributed to his home chapter at the University of Tennessee. Even while living nearly 1,000 miles away, he made time to attend officer retreats, fundraising dinners and alumni events. After moving back to the area, Giesler humbly accepted the position of chapter counselor for Tennessee Alpha and helped guide the chapter through a period of transition. His fellow volunteers consistently praise him for his patient and kind approach to mentoring the undergraduate brothers, always taking time to listen, then advise.
In addition to supporting chapters on the local level, Giesler has spent decades serving brothers through national programs, becoming a staple of the Carlson Leadership Academy and Grand Chapter Conclave.
And before most Greek organizations even thought about how to utilize the untapped potential of the internet, he had already established a SigEp blog, Sanguine et Purpure. This online forum became a place where brothers from around the world could come together to share opinions, insights and information in pursuit of SigEp’s cardinal principles. (It can now be viewed by searching SigEpBlogFans on Facebook or @SigEpBlog on Twitter.)
Giesler also established the SigEp LinkedIn group, which reached 14,000 members under his management. The group is the embodiment of his belief that chapters from Maine to California should be able to communicate with and learn from each other. He followed that up by launching a Conclave social media breakfast in 2005 to help chapters prepare and plan their social media presence. These informal meetings paved the way for sessions dedicated to the topic at Conclave and Carlson and the Fraternity’s recently launched Chapter Sites initiative.
At the 2019 Conclave, Giesler did not claim any credit for his accomplishments, but simply remarked, “I saw that the power of social media, the power of the internet, could do a lot to advance our ideals and to show others our values and to let people know about the good we do in the world.”