SigEp is saddened by the passing of Brother Ross Hecht, Nebraska ’54, who dedicated more than 60 years of service to his home chapter.
He was a leader in the chapter from the time he joined as sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, serving as secretary.
In 1961, he took on the role of alumni advisor during a challenging time for the chapter. Under his guidance, the chapter grew and developed a solid reputation on campus. Starting in 1968, Hecht served for six years as AVC treasurer.
As chair of the fundraising campaign for the 1960s expansion of Nebraska Alpha’s facility, Hecht played a huge role in preserving the chapter’s culture. Nearly 40 years later, he further supported chapter operations and brotherly connections by overseeing a $2 million campaign to renovate the facility members called home. During his time as president of a local bank, he helped the chapter obtain financing for other projects when other lenders wouldn’t take a chance on a fraternity.
Not one to make decisions based on what was popular, he was always ahead of the curve and considered what was in the best interests of the chapter. One example is when he advocated the removal of alcohol from Nebraska Alpha’s home. This was several years prior to SigEp undergrads’ vote to make chapter facilities substance-free.
Hecht was so highly revered by Nebraska Alpha alumni that, in 2011, brothers raised more than $200,000 in less than a month to establish a scholarship fund in his name.
In 2013, Hecht was awarded SigEp’s highest volunteer honor, the Order of the Golden Heart, in recognition of his many years of service to our Fraternity.
Here, a few of the brothers who knew him best share the impact Hecht had on them and SigEp:
“Ross not only loved being a SigEp, but was very key to helping Nebraska Alpha become one of the best chapters in the country. Whenever he called or stopped in to see you, you better have your checkbook ready as he — with a slight smile on his face — would ask for money to help fund a project at the SigEp house. You couldn’t say no to Ross. It was a pleasure to have known him and to be called a brother. Miss him.” — Bob Bettenhausen, Nebraska ’66
“For over 50 years, Ross was the leader of Nebraska Alpha. When Nebraska Alpha needed alumni leaders, Ross stepped up. When Nebraska Alpha needed more volunteers, Ross found them. When Nebraska Alpha needed a loan, Ross made it. When Nebraska Alpha needed a capital campaign, Ross led the charge — twice. When Nebraska Alpha needed help convincing the chapter that alcohol had no place in the facility, Ross delivered the speech. When Nebraska Alpha’s young chapter president needed to tuck his shirt in, Ross told me to tuck my shirt in. Ross gave a lifetime of service to his community and our Fraternity, one that has allowed thousands of SigEps after him the opportunity to carry on his legacy. We will miss him, but we will never disappoint him.” — Kyle Arganbright, Nebraska ’04
“I met Ross the first semester of my freshman year. He was one of the ‘old guys,’ even 42 years ago! All new brothers met with Ross to learn some of the history and stories about SigEp.
“He has been a constant in my SigEp experience ever since. Ross was not the first initiate in Nebraska Alpha, but for several generations of guys, he was alum #1. Whether he was leading the alumni foundation, raising money or just keeping everyone on their toes, Ross was a constant, and we are all better for his presence and legacy.” — Matt Nyberg, Nebraska ’85
“Ross loved to tell old SigEp stories, either from his days in the chapter or later when he was chapter alumni president. By the time Ross was done with a story, we would both be laughing, and I felt like I was one of Ross’ pledge class brothers.
“Ross had a gift. He fit in with all age groups and made everyone feel like a brother. Ross was a nice man, and we loved him.” — Lee Chapin, Nebraska ’80