SIGMA NU FRATERNITY, INC. Excelling with Honor. The Way of Honor. Part I

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1 SIGMA NU FRATERNITY, INC. Excelling with Honor The Way of Honor Part I

2 When The Way of Honor was first printed in 1960, it caused considerable excitement in the fraternity world. As Clyde Sanfred Johnson points out in his book, Fraternities in Our Colleges, it represented a rather sharp break from traditional formats in that it had a consistent theme of ethical behavior and stressed factors involved in practicing democracy within the local chapter. Widely imitated, Dick Vaughan s essay has assumed a special place among fraternity literature. Every Sigma Nu, be he collegiate or alumni member, or candidate, owes it to himself and his Fraternity to read it thoughtfully, and to ponder its message. Brother Vaughan s gifted pen tells simply but forcefully what Sigma Nu is all about. He reflects on the meaning of fraternity, especially as interpreted by the Founders of Sigma Nu, and outlines the ways in which the Fraternity can continue to advance and grow. It is presented here as your introduction to a fraternity which holds that lives built upon the Honor ideal will best serve God, country and family. Gerald R. Sherratt, Epsilon Upsilon June, 1977 Dick Vaughan ( ), credited as the author of The Way of Honor, served as Sigma Nu s 36th Regent. An initiate of Upsilon Chapter at the University of Texas, Brother Vaughan was the prime instigator in establishing the Texas Legion of Honor awards. He was chairman of the Upsilon Home Association and chief organizer of the Sigma Nu alumni in Texas. In 1957 he was appointed Commander of Division 22 (Texas) and covered his 1,500- mile route between chapters assiduously. As an undergraduate, he was managing editor of the Texas Daily Student. After graduation he was appointed sports editor of the Austin American. When he became interested in political reporting, he joined the staff of the Houston Press as legislative correspondent, soon advancing to become legislative correspondent for OF the three Scripps-Howard papers in Texas. Later, as editorial director for the three papers, he was instrumental in developing campaigns which led to major governmental reforms. In 1943, Brother Vaughan became associated with Brown and Root, Inc., a public relations firm in Austin, and in 1949 began his own public relations business. Upon being elevated to the High Council in 1958, he curtailed his business in order to devote more time for himself and Sigma Nu. He was elected to the Sigma Nu Hall of Honor in 1976 in recognition of the impact his treatise has had upon this Fraternity. NOTE: In actuality, a silent co-author contributed substantially, if not equally, to the writing of The Way of Honor. He was none other than Mr. Sigma Nu, Brother Richard R. Fletcher (Delta Delta, Penn State). Brother Fletcher and Brother Vaughan devoted countless hours conversing, writing and rewriting this treatise cooperatively. However, Brother Fletcher, in his inimitable, humble spirit, insisted that Brother Vaughan be given full credit as the author since it was Brother Vaughan s original idea to have the treatise written and published. It should also be noted for the record that slight modifications in terminology have been made to Brother Vaughan s brilliant essay first by Dr. Gerald R. Sherratt and, subsequently, by members of the fraternal staff not only to keep the text in accordance with the changing vernacular of the Fraternity but to help elucidate the message so magnificently intended by both Brothers Vaughan and Fletcher. 1

3 SIGMA NU DISTINCTIVE, UNIQUE Fraternities are larger or smaller, older or younger. They have distinctive Greek letters and each one has a badge of different shape. Yet too much of the outside world thinks they re all alike: college clubs for boys, a playpen for the immature. How would you single out Sigma Nu from the crowd? Sigma Nu is an Honor fraternity. It has been from the beginning. When James Frank Hopkins started gathering material at VMI for the Legion of Honor, which was to become Sigma Nu, he had one towering standard: He sought men who could govern each act by a high sense of honor. He welded them into a fraternity, not a club, for men, not boys, based upon the Honor Principle, not expediency and situational ethics. IT WILL BE YOURS When you are initiated, you will acquire a valuable privilege. A fraternity may have fine houses; we have many of them. It may set an excellent table, as we do from coast to coast. It may have many trophies attesting to its athletic and intellectual prowess, as we do. It may give great parties and stand high with the women, like Sigma Nu. But if this is all, the sum is an excellent chain of nothing more than boarding houses or clubs. A fraternity is more than that. Sigma Nu is a group of men today selected from a variety of historical and cultural backgrounds, forming a close family, organized to govern themselves with the high ideals and noble purposes of fraternity, seeking individually and collectively to use honor as a goal and test for every action. Wherever the ceremony takes place, it will make you part of the Chapters of Maine, California, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas and Mississippi, among many others. You may never see the Brothers in action at Duke, Utah, Washington and Lee, Butler, Montana, Oklahoma State, Louisiana Tech, but you will be one of them just the same. You will be part of the stream of Sigma Nu, which winds through Bethany, Mercer, Lehigh, Purdue and on. It flows from coast to coast, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and you will be a part of it forever. When Sigma Nus gather anywhere, you will be there, spiritually, if not in person. Think about it! You will be part of the Sigma Nu family. Sigma Nu is not and cannot be one local Chapter. As such it would degenerate into a local club, having no more than a name to bind it to a united Brotherhood worldwide. So In everything you do, act for the whole Sigma Nu Fraternity, which is every Chapter and every Initiate, not just you and those within your own chapter. 2

4 THE ROAD AHEAD He who starts out on a road, not knowing where he is, where he is going, or how he is going to get there, is lost. He may reach no worthwhile destination or if he does by accident how will he know that he has arrived? You are, by unanimous consent of your Chapter, a man acceptable to Sigma Nu Fraternity, and thus you begin with all Members believing in you and ready to help you. Your destination is full membership initiation into the Legion of Honor. We will make your road plain, but not a handout, as Sigma Nu is worth your effort, and very little worthwhile in this world is gained without effort. The value of gold is measured primarily by the difficulty of obtaining it. You must be assayed, refined, polished and made more useful to yourself and others; you must accept the obligations of membership with enthusiasm and respect, realizing that it all increases your value by improving your capabilities. You must learn the ideals and objectives of Sigma Nu. DON T GO UNLESS Tens of thousands have found Sigma Nu the most rewarding experience of their college years invaluable in preparation for their future an inspiration in living, throughout life. They got out of Sigma Nu what they put into it, and so can you. Sigma Nu expects you to have one or more talents and develop others. It expects you always to use those talents. The best man is the one who asks what he can do for Sigma Nu, not what Sigma Nu can do for him. He is the man who eventually finds that Sigma Nu has done more for him than he ever dreamed it could. If you want a free ride If you want something conferred on you, without giving your best efforts Particularly if you think you have nothing further to do after initiation Then stop now of your own accord. A good Chapter will never allow you to complete the trip, or if you do, you will never really belong. Sigma Nu can develop your talents, but talents, like muscles, must be exercised to grow. 3

5 HOW GOOD ARE WE? The first question any candidate asks himself is: How good is this Fraternity? We ll answer in detail later, but first: The Fraternity will be as good as you are. It will be hard for it to be better than you are, not only now but also after you are initiated. Perhaps it will be even harder for it to be better than your support when you are an Alumnus. If you will follow the teachings of the Fraternity and exercise the talent we believe you had when we invited you to become a Candidate, ours will grow to be an even greater Fraternity. A fraternity may spread from coast to coast, from Canada to the tip of Florida, as Sigma Nu has. It may have more than two hundred fine Chapter Houses, as Sigma Nu has. It may have the highest principles, the noblest motives, the greatest ideals and the richest heritage of traditions, as Sigma Nu has. It may be respected by many, everywhere, as Sigma Nu is. But wherever you are, to all you meet, YOU are the Sigma Nu Fraternity. When we gave you our Candidate Pin, we entrusted to you the reputation of Sigma Nu Fraternity. Regardless of what tens of thousands have built with love and labor for more than a century, the man or woman who meets you in any and every circumstance will say of you: This is Sigma Nu the college fraternity at its best! Sigma Nu will not settle for anything short of your best efforts. If you will give them, you may continue to wear the Candidate Pin with pride confident that you will be initiated in proper time; when initiated you will be a strong member, and when you leave college you should be a better man an ethical leader. YOU CAN MAKE IT! We thought so, or we wouldn t have invited you to join. Before you begin to prove we were right, you ought to know what Sigma Nu is. We are a Fraternity (not a club) for MEN (not boys) living by Honor (not expediency or situational ethics). Our Founders left us an excellent test for every action, for you alone, or for your group: is this really fraternal, manly, honorable? If the answer is yes, you can be sure the decision is right but you must know what these three words mean. 4

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