The Fraternity mourns the passing of Brother Kent Hickman, Colorado ’61, who was deeply committed to supporting the leadership development of undergraduate SigEp brothers through his generosity, volunteer service and membership in the Legacy Society. Brother Hickman studied English literature at the University of Colorado, where he joined SigEp’s Colorado Alpha chapter and served as recording secretary. After graduation, he embarked on a career with the U.S. Agency for International Development as a foreign service officer, helping USAID administer philanthropic aid around the world.
In the 1990s, work took Hickman to Washington, D.C. He wanted to connect with a local SigEp chapter and began volunteering with D.C. Gamma at Georgetown. When his home chapter rechartered, Hickman was eager to ensure his Colorado Alpha brothers had the skills needed to successfully lead the chapter. He established a grant program to assist chapter members with the costs of attending SigEp’s leadership programs. The study room at the Colorado Alpha chapter facility was later renamed in Hickman’s honor in appreciation of his generosity.
Because of his passion for developing young men, Brother Hickman expanded his support to include rising leaders at chapters across the country. Over the years, he funded the attendance of hundreds of young brothers at SigEp’s Carlson Leadership Academy. The training these Hickman Scholars received has enabled them to step into leadership roles and create a meaningful SigEp experience for thousands of brothers. With the desire to extend his impact on SigEp beyond his lifetime, Hickman also made an estate gift to SigEp and will be forever honored among the members of the Legacy Society.
A few of the brothers who knew Hickman or were impacted by his generosity as a donor reflected on his legacy:
“Kent had a vision to help brothers that were like him as a young student — full of leadership potential, but not yet elected to an office in their chapter.
“Because of his generous commitment, the Hickman Scholars endowment (a title he resisted because it was never about ‘him’) will ensure that generations of SigEp’s future leaders will get critical training through our leadership events. His vision will live on forever.
“Slight in stature, but a giant of a man, he will always be my SigEp hero…” — Chris Bittman, Colorado ’85
“Kent and I are both brothers who live very far away from our chapters. His chapter was in Colorado and mine was in Michigan. Even though we are 31 years apart in age, the SigEp brotherhood is the unifying bond that brought us together. For that, I am personally grateful. I am proud to have known this man and to call him my brother.” — Donald Stevens, Lawrence Tech ’92
“Kent’s selfless dedication will forever leave an indelible mark on our brotherhood. His unwavering support, both financially and through the investment of his time, aided in the growth of countless young men.
“He transformed our chapter house, granting it long-awaited improvements and fostering an environment conducive to learning and growth. Kent’s benevolence extended to scholarship programs that enabled members to embrace leadership opportunities that may not have otherwise been available.
“As the president of our AVC, I fondly recall Kent’s sage guidance and unyielding support. Kent and I would often talk on the phone, reminiscing about the Fraternity life we both so much enjoyed while attending the University of Colorado, although at different times, and strategizing for the future of Colorado Alpha.
“Kent’s profound influence will forever resonate within our Fraternity, inspiring us to carry forward his torch of humility, dedication and selflessness. Kent will be missed.” — Jeff Wille, Colorado ’83
“Receiving the grant was critical to providing me with an opportunity to develop my skills as a leader that would help me during my time as an undergraduate, emerging leader, a volunteer and now in my career. Sigma Phi Epsilon’s leadership training was pivotal to my growth and development. Participating was made possible by Kent Hickman’s commitment to education and leadership. I am thankful for Brother Hickman’s lifelong desire to fuel the next generation of leaders.” — Dan Alt, American ’12
SigEp will fondly remember Kent for his life of service and impact, and his legacy of generosity.