In SigEp, diligence makes the impossible possible. This fall, diligence resurrected the once-great Iowa Eta Chapter at Loras College.
Founded in 1974, SigEp’s Loras Chapter won seven consecutive Buchanan Cups from 1977 to 1989. This long run of success was achieved under the guidance of Order of the Golden Heart recipient Bob McCune, Bradley ’50, before changing campus and chapter environments led to the chapter’s decline and closure in 2002.
A campus of about 1,550 students in Dubuque, Iowa, Loras boasted nearly 25 percent Greek involvement in its heyday, mostly with local fraternities and sororities. But by 2012, the university’s Greek life had dwindled to just 20 members of a campus sorority. That’s when a couple of Loras men stepped up to resurrect SigEp.
To succeed at Loras, a group of undergraduates and a contingent of alumni volunteers looked for opportunities to build something different. One of those opportunities included Loras University President Jim Collins, Loras Renaissance. Collins joined the Fraternity in 1990 and later became one of the most important advocates for the chapter’s return.
With the support of Collins, Loras alumni Tom Kaiser, ’87, and Tom Barton, ’89, began recruiting volunteers for a new chapter. Their initial team included Barton’s wife, Barb, and Loras alumni Ted Borelli, ’93; Bob Lange, Renaissance; Ryan McClellan, ’00; Dave Kapler, ’86; Bart Kintzinger, ’84; and Jim Sullivan, ’84.
Roman Ciapalo, a professor of philosophy and the Andrew P. Studdert Chair of Business Ethics and Crisis Leadership, accepted a role as faculty fellow. Vice President for Institutional Advancement Mike Doyle, Loras Renaissance, also agreed to work with the group and went on to join the Fraternity in 2016. When an enthusiastic young alumnus, Danny Moore, ’13, emerged as chapter counselor, the initial volunteer team was set.
After each chapter officer was paired with a mentor, the brothers went to work building a sustainable Balanced Man Program. Chapter alumni also supported the return financially, donating $14,000 for leadership training, member development and the rechartering banquet.
It all worked. On Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, Iowa Eta rechartered. Now, the chapter has to keep thinking big. The scrutiny is intense on a campus as small as Loras, and the brothers are committed to being a valued partner in higher education. They host regular “Lunch and Learns” where SigEps meet with key staff members like President Collins over lunch. They also organize faculty recognition receptions to celebrate their favorite faculty members.