SigEp’s Virginia Nu chapter was founded in the spring of 1981, becoming the sixth fraternity at Radford University. The chapter went on to create a culture based on active involvement in campus life both inside and outside the classroom, nurturing student athletes, resident advisors, members of Radford’s emergency medical services squad and honors academy graduates, among others.
However, by 1991, the chapter found itself following a direction and culture Radford officials did not agree with, which resulted in the loss of its university recognition. In the years that followed, chapter alumni continued to feel a strong connection to Virginia Nu and considered its closure a loss for Radford’s fraternal community. A group of alumni, led by Kent Warren, ’91, decided to work together to bring the chapter back. They first pitched the idea to the university’s president and SigEp’s Board of Directors in 2009. After several years of discussion and planning, alumni, the university and SigEp’s staff were ready for Virginia Nu’s return. In 2014, the first new members of the Radford Sigma Epsilon Chapter were recruited through the Balanced Man Scholarship. This important milestone has launched a new era of success for the chapter.
That first group of brothers and those who’ve followed have worked toward a common goal: to positively impact the lives and culture of men at Radford University. The group’s GPA is above 3.3 most semesters, and it’s earned the highest GPA among all Greek organizations every semester except one since its return. Even while maintaining such high academic standards, these brothers also have excelled in intramural and university sports.
The chapter’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. At the 2019 Carlson Leadership Academy, it received an Excelsior Award for cultivating a high level of involvement by faculty advisors Heather Hollandsworth, Dr. Niels Christensen and Dr. Orion Rogers. In addition, Benjamin Thiss, ’19, received the Zollinger Outstanding Senior Award for playing an integral role in the chartering process while constantly building himself and those around him into balanced men.
Brothers have also received strong support from the university. Radford’s current president, Dr. Brian Hemphill, even phoned SigEp CEO Brian Warren, Virginia ’04, to say how much he appreciates the positive impact the group is making on campus.
That impact was more than obvious on March 30, 2019, when Past Grand President Archie Yeatts, Richmond ’64, joined Headquarters staff members Tim Laboy-Coparropa, Christopher Newport ’17, and Paul Andersen, Northern Iowa ’16, at a celebration banquet to present the Virginia Nu brothers with their new charter. Faculty members, family and friends were also in attendance to celebrate the chapter’s success.
Despite this huge accomplishment, the chapter knows its journey is just beginning. But the brothers can be proud knowing their achievements and the positive culture they’ve nurtured over the last five years will serve as the foundation on which many other Radford brothers will build upon.