On Feb. 23, more than 200 alumni, undergraduates and friends gathered for a special celebration of one of SigEp’s premier programs. The 2021 Tragos Quest to Greece scholar presentation brought together these important stakeholders of the program to announce this year’s group of scholars and celebrate their accomplishments.
Sending a small cohort of undergraduates through Greece accompanied by alumni mentors and university faculty, the Tragos Quest changes the way brothers view the world, their Fraternity and themselves. Scholars study the influence Greek philosophy, governance and the arts has had and continues to have on everyday life. Selection for the program is highly competitive, and the 2021 scholar announcement was much anticipated.
Hosted by Chris Purdum, Wichita State ’07, the announcement event was attended by past Tragos Quest scholars and mentors, undergraduate applicants, and their chapter brothers. Before announcing the 67 finalists for the Tragos Quest, Purdum recognized the effort of all the applicants: “Each year, hundreds of brothers apply for the Tragos Quest to Greece,” he said. “These young men often spend hours on their applications, reflecting on their lives and typing their stories onto a page. They shine a bright light on our Fraternity. In any number of ways, these men live the values of SigEp, day in and day out.”
In addition to providing a venue for Quest alumni and mentors to gather, the virtual event brought all applicants together for the finalist and scholar reveal. To reveal the 19 scholars selected for this year’s program, a number of past scholars and mentors read the scholars’ individual accomplishments and announced their names and home chapters. The 2021 scholars will join a special family within SigEp of those who have experienced the unique power of the Tragos Quest.
From Missouri to Massachusetts, the Dakotas to Southern California, the 2021 scholars bring a diversity of backgrounds and accomplishments. Many scholars serve their communities, are members of honors organizations, lead their chapters, hold 4.0 GPAs and excel in athletics. Out of so many applicants, these men stand out because of the strength of their achievements and dedication to SigEp’s values. You can view the full scholar listing here.
“The Quest was aptly named. A quest says you’re looking for something — it’s a quest looking for yourself,” said Past Grand President Bill Tragos, Washington–St. Louis ’56, the program’s namesake. “Sound Mind and Sound Body is a vital part of preparation for living your best life. You had to do that in ancient Greece [in pursuit of] eudaimonia, which means happiness that comes from fulfillment.”
Funded through the generosity of Bill and Lilli Tragos, as well as many past scholars and mentors through the SigEp Educational Foundation, the Tragos Quest is a unique, industry-leading element of the Fraternity’s efforts to prepare young men for the rest of their lives. “We believe that the SigEp leadership programs are the most important thing the Fraternity does for its undergraduates,” said SigEp Educational Foundation President Ed Hammond, Emporia State ’66. “Past mentors and scholars of the Tragos Quest to Greece have laid a strong foundation upon which we can continue to build and deliver this life-changing experience.”
Purdum exhorted the newly selected scholars to engage themselves fully in the Tragos Quest. “This journey will challenge you to fully experience the power of the Tragos Quest to Greece — it will require virtue. To physically experience the Tragos Quest to Greece for those days abroad, from city to city, it will require diligence. And to feel the lasting impact and love for the Tragos Quest, like those gathered here this evening do, it will require full investment into yourself and your fellow brothers.”
The 2021 Tragos Quest to Greece will take place Aug. 5-15. To make a gift so the Fraternity can continue to provide the Tragos Quest, click here.