From the time he was initiated into Sigma Phi Epsilon until his passing, Avery Gaskins was devoted to ensuring his home chapter, West Virginia Beta, produced men of the highest caliber.
A founding member of the chapter’s alumni and volunteer association, Gaskins was also a longtime member of the chapter’s building association. In the 1960s, he played a key role in alumni communication and fundraising efforts for construction of the chapter’s new facility. That building has served as the chapter’s home for more than 50 years and a place where Brother Gaskins mentored and inspired generations of young SigEps. When the AVC renovated the home in 2007, they named the facility after him.
For more than a decade, he served as chapter counselor, during which the chapter earned three Buchanan Cups. In 1985, his many years of service and leadership were recognized with the Order of the Golden Heart, the Fraternity’s highest volunteer honor.
Some of the brothers who knew Gaskins best reflected on his contributions to the chapter:
“As an icon of West Virginia Beta, Ave exemplified the cardinal principles of our Fraternity: Virtue, Diligence and Brotherly Love. Ave embraced these principles in his personal life, and through his faithful service to the Fraternity, inspired and mentored generations of West Virginia Beta brothers.” — Steve Dearien, West Virginia ’80
“Avery was the epitome of what a brother is supposed to be: loyal, dedicated, revered and, most importantly, a true gentleman. He was an amazing influence on hundreds of brothers who came through the red doors at WVU. It was an honor to know him and recently work with him on the AVC. He will be dearly missed by all, but his spirit and leadership will live on. Rest in peace, Brother Avery. HFF.” — Daniel Catullo, ’94
“To so many people, Avery Gaskins, or ‘Doc’ as many in the Fraternity called him, was West Virginia Beta. Ave was a very humble man who loved Sigma Phi Epsilon so much that he put his heart and soul into the chapter. He influenced and touched so many brothers over several decades.
“I was very fortunate and honored to be with Ave when he was recognized with the Order of the Golden Heart. West Virginia Beta also received a Buchanan Cup during that Conclave, and Ave was so extremely proud of both of these accomplishments.” — Ray Clarke, ’84
“Doc was part of my life for 50 years. He was my mentor and brother. In the 1990s, I took over as chapter counselor, and Doc became president of the AVC. In 2012, I became president of AVC. Until health issues forced him to slow down a few years ago, he attended every event and board meeting. Every new class had an evening with Ave. He loved telling them the history of our chapter and the Fraternity. Every step of the way over the last 50 years, he was there to advise the chapter and the board.” — Curtis Shinn, ’74
Brother Gaskins will long be remembered, and his legacy will live on in the many lives he touched.
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