National Fraternity History
Sigma Alpha Epsilon was founded on March 9, 1856 at the University of Alabama. Noble Leslie DeVotie, born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was the leader of the eight founding fathers which included Nathan Elams Cockrell, Samuel Marion Dennis, John Barratt Rudulph, Abner Edwin Patton, Wade Hampton Foster, Thomas Chappell Cook, and John Webb Kerr. The Alabama Chapter became affectionately known as Alabama Mu or “Mother Mu.”
As the Civil War began the Fraternity had fewer than 400 members. Of those, 369 went to war and seventy-four of those young men lost their lives including DeVotie, who was the first Alabamian to be lost in the war. By the end, the destruction had turned fifteen pre-war chapters into only one, Washington City Rho at George Washington University in Washington D.C. Out of the ashes, Sigma Alpha Epsilon became (and remains) the only surviving fraternity founded in the Antebellum South.
The end of the 19th century marked a period of massive expansion for Sigma Alpha Epsilon lead by the efforts of Harry Bunting along with his three brothers. Harry – “gnawing dissatisfaction with the status quo, with pride in himself and a vision with the sense to translate his idealism into action” – set out to reshape the Fraternity. Following his initiation in 1886, the next seven years, witnessed an increase in the number of chapters from 27 to 54 including the founding of Missouri Beta at Washington University and Illinois Psi-Omega at Northwestern University.
At Northwestern, Harry met William C. Levere, referred to by others as “the strongest anti-fraternity man on campus” but more importantly “the strongest leader on campus.” And thus, Billy Levere was selected into Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He would become one of it’s greatest members serving as Eminent Supreme Recorder from 1912-1927. At the time of his passing in 1927, the Fraternity had grown to over 125 chapters. It was Levere’s wish for an SAE national headquarters to include a memorial shrine to those who died in World War I. In 1930, the Levere Memorial Temple, in Evanston, Illinois was completed and still serves as the national headquarters.
Today, there are 305 chapters with over 11,000 active collegiate members. And in Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s 153 year history over 300,000 members have initiated our beloved order.
Missouri Beta History
The Missouri Beta Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was chartered at Washington University on April 30, 1892, it is the second oldest fraternity chapter located on Washington University’s campus. Its founders were Curtis R. Haydon, M. B. Yeaman, the Knights of the Green Umbrella and R.S.R. Almost 1,800 men have been initiated into Sigma Alpha Epsilon through the Missouri Beta Chapter. Despite a period of turbulence in the chapters history, Missouri Beta has held tightly together. Withstanding years of hardship, the Missouri Beta chapter has once again expanded triumphantly upon their return to campus. The brotherhood currently consists of a medium size group of men who strive not only for social leadership, but academic excellence and the strongest bonds of friendship.
To read about the founding of the Missouri Beta chapter, click here.
Famous National Alumni
▪ T. Boone Pickens, Jr. – Chairman, Mesa Petroleum, Oklahoma State University
▪ Howard Wood – Founder and Former-CEO, Charter Communications, Washington University
▪ Scott Ford – CEO of Alltel Wireless, University of Arkansas
▪ Ed Wilson – President of Tribune Broadcasting, Southern Methodist University
▪ William McKinley – Twenty-fifth President of the United States of America, Mount Union College
▪ Hank Paulson – Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Dartmouth College
▪ Richard Myers – Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kansas State University
▪ Eliot Ness – FBI Prohibition agent, University of Chicago
▪ Phil Jackson – Professional basketball coach, University of North Dakota
▪ Bobby Jones – Professional golfer, Georgia Tech
▪ Mack Brown – College football coach, Florida State University
▪ Pete Carroll – College football coach, University of the Pacific
▪ Bo Schembechler – College football coach, Miami University
Television & Film
▪ Lloyd Bridges – Actor, UCLA
▪ David McKenna – Writer/Producer of Blow & American History X, San Diego State University
▪ Fred Savage – Actor, Stanford University
▪ David Spade – Actor/Comedian, Arizona State University
© 2009 Sigma Alpha Epsilon.