On a crisp fall Saturday morning, a small crowd gathered in front of an elegant house with a red door in Richmond, Virginia. As a man holding a pair of giant scissors snipped the red ribbon covering the door, he smiled broadly at the crowd, then looked back at the building now bearing his name.
Garry Kief, Southern California ’70, is a Past Grand President, SigEp Educational Foundation life trustee, and recipient of both the SigEp Citation and the Order of the Golden Heart. Although he’s no stranger to big moments in SigEp, this day put him at the center of a moment unlike any other in the Fraternity’s history as brothers and friends gathered for the official opening of the Educational Foundation offices in the newly minted Kief House.
It’s unlikely Kief imagined such a moment back when he reconnected with SigEp almost 30 years ago. After meeting then-Educational Foundation President Chuck White, Western Michigan ’62, and Past Grand President Mike Williams, Memphis ’69, Kief visited Conclave in 1991. He was impressed and left the event excited to put the skills he’d honed working in politics and the entertainment industry to work for the Fraternity.
Starting his volunteer service as a Foundation trustee, Kief went on to become Foundation president before eventually joining the National Board of Directors and serving as Grand President from 2009 to 2011. Kief brought energy and enthusiasm to each role, whether fundraising for scholarships and leadership programs or keynoting at Carlson, Conclave and other events.
When SigEp CEO Brian Warren, Virginia ’04, realized the Foundation had outgrown its space in Zollinger House, Kief was the first person he called. Kief liked the idea of creating an office for Foundation staff and gifted an available property adjacent to SigEp’s Zollinger House Headquarters for that purpose.
Several brothers and friends joined Kief in support of the cause by sponsoring rooms throughout the facility. Offices donated by or in honor of longtime volunteers Chuck White; Archie Yeatts, Richmond ’64; and Tom Barton, Loras ’89, serve as workspace for SigEp’s professional staff and include Fraternity-related items donated from the personal collections of these namesake brothers. The McCleary Innovation Room, named in honor of Past Grand President Donald McCleary, Texas-Austin ’71, not only serves as meeting space, but also includes the history of the Balanced Man Program. The NUTS! War Room serves as the board room for the Foundation while honoring SigEp veterans and volunteers.
In addition, Kief House contains a beautifully curated collection chronicling the Foundation’s history. The archive was created through gifts from Peter Hasenkamp, Dartmouth ’98; Peter’s wife, Allison; and others in honor of Past Grand President and Order of the Golden Heart recipient Bruce Hasenkamp, Dartmouth ’60, and his wife, Inta.
Kent Hickman, Colorado ’61; Tom Jelke, Florida International, ’90; and Greg Pestinger, Kansas State ’86, three of the Fraternity’s highest lifetime donors, were among the guests who attended the ribbon-cutting and saw their names displayed in the recently renovated building. Members of the National Board of Directors and all the Foundation’s trustees were also on hand to celebrate this milestone for the Fraternity.
The Foundation extends a special thanks to Jon Kucera, Virginia ’69, for his project management of the renovation and to Ashley Warren for pro bono interior design.
SigEp thanks the more than 400 donors who supported our efforts to make the property gifted by Brother Kief our new Foundation Headquarters.
We also extend a special thanks to the following for dedicating and furnishing rooms throughout Kief House:
- Elaine and Archie Yeatts for the Archie and Elaine Yeatts Office
- Tom Allardyce, Lamar ’70, for the Chuck White Office
- Friends of Barb and Tom Barton for the Tom and Barb Barton Annual Giving Offices
- The Chicago Society, with lead donor Michael Johnson, Eastern Washington ’01, for the Don McCleary Innovation Room
- Peter and Allison Hasenkamp and friends for the Bruce Hasenkamp Memorial Archives
- Tom and Barb Barton; Sara and Shawn Sedlacek, Southern California ’93; Brian and Ashley Warren; and Mike and Gay Williams for the Garry Kief portrait
- Nearly 100 members of the NUTS! McAuliffe Society for the NUTS! War Room, including the sponsors of the 10 chairs given in honor of SigEp veterans and volunteers
To view more photos from the ribbon-cutting, go to sigep.org/KH-gallery.