Dear brothers and friends,
It’s with great sadness that I share with you the passing of beloved brother and Past Grand President Phillip A. Cox ’84.
Phil was a 1984 graduate of Indiana University and a brother of SigEp’s Indiana Beta Chapter. After graduation, he served the Fraternity as a regional director and then as director of housing on the Headquarters staff. Since leaving the Fraternity’s staff in 1988, he has served as chapter counselor, Alumni and Volunteer Corporation president and treasurer for the Indiana University Chapter.
Outside of SigEp, Phil worked as director of managed accounts and alternative investments for Schwab Institutional. He was a partner at Jurika & Voyles, NorthRoad Capital Management and served as a sales director at Turner Investment Partners before joining Schwab.
But Phil was known best for his unrelenting dedication to SigEp. From 1993 to 1998, Phil served as district governor for Indiana. He is a Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient and was elected to Sigma Phi Epsilon’s National Board of Directors at the 2003 Grand Chapter Conclave in San Antonio, Texas. At the 2013 Grand Chapter Conclave in Dallas, Phil became Sigma Phi Epsilon’s 46th Grand President. From the outset of his presidency, Phil was committed to providing support and training to SigEp’s volunteers. His leadership led to the creation of the Fraternity’s first educational program intended for volunteers.
To honor Phil’s legacy and commitment to SigEp’s volunteers, his friends and brothers endowed the program he made possible so that it could continue Phil’s dream in perpetuity. Today, the Phillip A. Cox Volunteer Institute provides critical support to volunteers all across the country.
To recognize his many years of dedicated and invaluable service, SigEp honored Phil with the Order of the Golden Heart at the 2015 Conclave in Nashville.
During his difficult battle with cancer, Phil never stopped being a shining example of friendship and love to his family, brothers and friends. His young brothers at Indiana University were inspired to paint the phrase, “Fight Like Phil Today” on a wall in the chapter house—a reminder to fight, but more importantly to live as their brother did.
Phil is survived by his wife Jane and two children, Caroline and Phillip, North Carolina ’16.
Below are some words from the friends and brothers who knew him best.
“We have said that SigEp needs heroes, champions and leaders. One man can make a huge difference. Phil understood this. He was a champion as an undergrad at Indiana and a strong leader when he served on the Fraternity’s Headquarters staff and National Board of Directors. Phil knew how critical volunteers and training were to SigEp. Our future depended on it, and he made it happen. Yes, SigEp needs heroes … and he was mine.”
— Christopher L. Bittman, Colorado ’85.
“Phil had no interest in personal recognition and, in fact, avoided it the best he could. He was one of those rare souls that was delighted in helping others while being genuinely uncomfortable in the limelight. What we know is that he was a great and empathetic listener. His genuine concern made people feel heard and lifted their spirits. He was incredibly generous with his time and money. Phil’s humility will never allow us to know all of the wonderful things he has done for others, but certainly we know enough …”
— John Davis, Western Carolina ’87.
“In addition to all of Phil’s lifelong contributions to Indiana Beta and Sigma Phi Epsilon nationally, I am convinced that Phil’s living legacy will be the impact that he had on thousands and thousands of undergraduate SigEps across the United States. He had an uncanny ability to make those around him better. The interesting part is that Phil always said he got 10 times from Sigma Phi Epsilon what he put into it. He was the definition of Virtue, Diligence and Brotherly Love, and taught me the true meaning of HFF. Phil was my brother and my friend of a lifetime whom I will miss greatly!”
— Chris Foster, Indiana ’84.
“Phil was a ‘friend of a lifetime’ to many … and not just SigEp brothers. He knew the importance of friendship and brotherhood in people’s lives, and he knew that in order to have such friendships, one had to do the work of friendship. No one I know did this better than Phil. Regarding SigEp, Phil wanted all brothers to care about SigEp collectively, and not just about their own chapter. He cared as deeply about other SigEp chapters as he did about his own chapter.”
— Joe Langella, Connecticut ’83.
“Virtue, Diligence and Brotherly Love is the heart and soul of Sigma Phi Epsilon and the foundation of our individual and fraternal lives. Phil Cox was among the greatest of examples of our Cardinal Principles in the way he lived and worked, and especially in the way he loved our Fraternity. Men like Phil Cox are great because they inspire others by example and by personal exhortation. Today, I am convinced Phil is tugging at our hearts, asking what we will do tomorrow for Virtue, Diligence and Brotherly Love, and for Sigma Phi Epsilon.”
— Steve Bishop, Indiana ’76.
We will be forever grateful for Phil’s brotherly love and enduring kindness. In this difficult time of grief, we should support each other and stand together as a brotherhood. Phil will be missed, but we will always cherish in our hearts the memory of how he exemplified what it means to be a brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon.
Rev. Ray Ackerman
SigEp National Chaplain