Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the largest fraternal organization in the world, with more than 270,000 members since 1856, the year of its founding. SAE (as it is nicknamed) is a social fraternity with more than 8,200 current undergraduate members across more than 200 chapters in North America. It is the first fraternity to establish a national headquarters (1929), a national Leadership School (1935), a national Men's Health Issues Committee (1980), and a career-development program ("The Leading Edge" in 1990).
The fraternity's comprehensive membership education program is called "The True Gentleman Initiative". It is what chapters of SAE subscribe to as their guidelines for their pledge education programs. SAE, like all the fraternities of the North-American Interfraternity Conference, claims to abide by a strict anti-hazing policy even though individual chapters may institute hazing practices behind the central headquarters' back.
The True Gentleman
The mission of Sigma Alpha Epsilon is to promote the highest standards of friendship, scholarship and service for its members based upon the ideals set forth by the Founders and as specifically enunciated in its creed, "The True Gentleman."
"The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe."
The fraternity of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was founded on March 9, 1856 at University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL. It is the only surviving antebellum Southern fraternity in existence. It was founded by Noble Leslie DeVotie, John Barratt Rudulph, Samuel Marion Dennis, Thomas Chappell Cook, Abner Edwin Patton, Wade Foster, Nathan Elams Cockrell, and John Webb Kerr. Wade Foster served under Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest during the Civil War. Forrest was the illiterate Confederate veteran and slave trader who founded the Ku Klux Klan in 1866. Not surprisingly, the fraternity is known for being the exclusively WASP fraternity and is not as ethnically diverse as some of the other fraternities.
Some controversy exists with regard to the post-Civil War activities of some of the founders. It has been speculated that several of ΣΑΕ's earliest members were indeed members of the KKK. To be sure, 6 of the 8 founders served for the Confederate Army. Of the two other founders, Nathan Elams Cockrell, died on his plantation in 1859, 2 years before the outbreak of the Civil War, and John Webb Kerr attended law school at Harvard.
The fraternity communicates through "The Record" magazine. It is published quarterly and has continuously been done so since 1880.
General Richard Myers
- http://www.sae.net/ - Official site
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