"This fraternity will be different."
These words, spoken by our founder, Carter Ashton Jenkens, continue to define Sigma Phi Epsilon. Jenkens, the 18-year-old son of a minister, had been a
student at Rutgers University, New Jersey, where he joined Chi Phi
Fraternity. When he transferred to Richmond College in the Fall of 1900,
he sought companions to take the place of the Chi Phi brothers he had
left behind. He found five men who had already been friends and urged them to join him in applying for a charter of Chi
Phi at Richmond College. The request for a charter was forwarded to Chi
Phi only to meet with refusal. Chi Phi felt that Richmond College was
too small for the establishment of a Chi Phi chapter.
Still intent on creating an organization of their own, these young men discussed the organization of a fraternity they would call "Sigma Phi." However, their request was questioned by a faculty committee of Richmond College, on grounds that there was already a national fraternity in existence named Sigma Phi. Also, the committee questioned the need of another fraternity on campus since there were already five on campus and a student body of less than 300 people, as well as the wisdom of creating a fraternity with 12 members, seven of whom were seniors.
To this, the men responded, "This fraternity will be different, it will be based on the love of God and the principle of peace through brotherhood. The number of members will be increased from the undergraduate classes. We will change the name to Sigma Phi Epsilon."
The Alabama Beta chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon was established at the University of Alabama on December 14, 1927.
This is a photo of the original chapter house, which burned down in 1984.
The original living room.
The current chapter house, where the brothers of SigEp have chapter meetings, fraternity dinners, events such as parent's weekend and sorority swaps, as well as living quarters for those who wish to live in the house. The red doors are a a tradition of Sigma Phi Epsilon, which began at the New York Alpha Chapter at Syracuse University in the 1920s. The tradition spread, and, now as you travel to other college campuses, you will see the "red door" of Sigma Phi Epsilon. Wherever you find it, you will know members are all welcome to walk through and share the brotherhood of Sigma Phi Epsilon.