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.
Since becoming a brother, Joe Langella, Connecticut ’83, has continually sought to be dependable and useful to SigEp. In doing so, he has inspired generations of brothers with his humble heart and servant’s attitude. His work ethic and can-do spirit have seen him play any role needed, from planning events to keynoting at programs, serving as chapter counselor or AVC officer, and recruiting volunteers.
After serving as chapter president during his senior year, Langella graduated from the University of Connecticut and joined the Fraternity’s traveling staff as a regional director. Following an impactful year of service and a two-year stint at Proctor & Gamble, he again agreed to help his brothers, this time as alumni director on the Headquarters staff in Richmond, Virginia. Over the next five years, he led alumni services, recruitment and development; served as the editor of the SigEp Journal; and was director of the 1987 and 1989 Grand Chapter Conclaves. He approached each task with enthusiasm, leaving an enduring impact on undergraduates and volunteers across the country.
After leaving the Headquarters staff in 1990, Langella’s more than three decades as a volunteer began with a question he posed to his close friend Phil Cox, Indiana ’84. Langella wondered whether it was the right time for him to begin volunteering for SigEp. Brother Cox told him, “Say ‘yes’ — nothing good happens without the word ‘yes.’” Encouraged by this advice, Langella agreed to become chapter counselor for our Temple chapter and later for our Villanova chapter.
In 2002, Langella accepted the position of district governor for eastern Pennsylvania, and he continues to serve in that role to this day. In the nearly two decades since, Langella has crisscrossed the district countless times, attending AVC and chapter meetings — recruiting and advising volunteers — and serving as a model of selfless giving for undergraduate brothers. In addition, he’s served on several national committees and task forces related to fundraising, membership development and recruitment. Leading national events, facilitating local workshops and having tough conversations are a typical SigEp day’s work for Langella, and countless brothers have benefitted from his dedication to our brotherhood.
In 2013, Langella headed the effort to restart his home chapter at Connecticut. With his guidance and unfailing commitment, local volunteers led the new chapter to chartering two years ago. The chapter is now more than 100 members strong and, after going 30 years since its last Buchanan Cup, earned one at the 2019 Conclave.
Despite his many contributions to SigEp, Langella was quick to express his gratitude to others for all the Fraternity has given him during his Order of the Golden Heart induction remarks. He especially recognized his chapter counselor from when he was an undergraduate, Jerry Dallas, Connecticut ’70. Langella said, “Jerry gave his heart and soul to our chapter, and he modeled the way for me to be a lifelong volunteer for SigEp.”
And then, with little surprise to those who know him best, Langella added with complete sincerity, “I’ve got a lot more work to do.”