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Order Your Brick Now for Installation before Tailgate Season

By Alumni Updates, Chapter News 14 Comments

It’s time to order donor recognition bricks for installation before tailgate season. If you have already completed a previous pledge, you may continue it and up-size your brick. That’s what Dale Ballard is doing this year. Contact  Maury Gaston at 205-902-0910 with any questions.

And now, here’s more about how the donor recognition patio came to be:

Several years ago the active brothers suggested the construction of a deck to the east of house, near the game-day tailgating area. It was a great idea and has served the same purpose that the ever-popular patio did at our previous house. Alumnus Andrew Brown of Brown Lumber and Building Supply in Harpersville provided the substantial Bill of Material at less-than-retail, and construction was led by active members Jeb Sprayberry and Wilson Shoulders. Capital campaign funds financed the project.

Soon afterwards, the capital campaign had reached a point where there was a need to recognize the donors of our current campaign and also those who contributed to the original construction of the house in the mid-1990s. There was a perimeter area between the sidewalks and the new deck that was just perfect for a donor recognition patio.

The brick-maker was located in nearby Columbus, Georgia, and they had provided bricks for many similar areas on Auburn’s campus. Campaign professionals suggested recognition levels of $1,000 for a 4 x 8; $3,000 for an 8 x 8; and $10,000 for a 12 x 12 polished black granite stone.

Alumnus Hagan Wagoner of ProgreCiv Group, a site developer, was finishing the re-surfacing of our parking lot and he moved right over to construct the curbs for the patio and lay its foundation bedding. Advisor Jim Sprayberry knew a local brick mason, and he was called to set the bricks.

A very special and fortuitous event occured as all this was being planned. Mell Hall, our fraternity home from the mid-1920s until our move to West Magnolia in 1957 was razed in less than a day. Bobby Lowder helped immediately secure approval from the university for us to have two pallets of brick from the old house. Those brick line the perimeter of our new donor recognition patio. A careful examination will show their older age. It’s a fortunate and unique connection dating back nearly a century. Active collegiate members have been overheard explaining that to their parents.

Order Your Brick Now for Installation before Tailgate Season Order Your Brick Now for Installation before Tailgate Season

The patio serves as a lasting “thank you” to those who have contributed financially to our needs. It’s really neat to see donors find their brick and show it to their family and friends. Our plan is to always accept donations for the capital needs of the fraternity and to order new bricks each year in time for their installation before the football and tailgate season begins.

To order your brick before this year’s deadline of July 29, click HERE, or contact campaign chairman Maury Gaston at 205-902-0910.

  • From Commander James Pate

    By Chapter News 3 Comments

    Commander James Pate of Lowndesboro, Beta Theta 2886, was one of our two collegiate voting delegates to Grand Chapter.  Here’s James’ report.

    Grand Chapter made a huge impression on me. For one, it taught me that Sigma Nu is not just a four-year-club, but a life commitment. I was overwhelmed by the alumni support and presence in San Diego as well as by how much they still care about the fraternity.  It was also a really cool experience seeing Mr. Lee Perrett, a Beta Theta alumnus, get installed as the Regent. This is a huge deal for us and motivated me to continue to pour back into a chapter that has influenced so many lives.

    I also significantly enjoyed Grand Chapter because it gave me the opportunity to build relationships with Sigma Nus from all over the country.  I especially got to know some of the other Commanders and members across the southeast, and I look forward to staying with them during some football road games.

    Lastly, I was very impressed by how efficient and professional the national staff team is and how well they did organizing such a large event with multiple tracks and schedules. Yes it was a significant amount of long legislative meetings, but it is an awesome event, and I wish every Sigma Nu could experience it.

    You may contact James at 334-300-5730 and

    Lt. Commander Alexander McCall of Mobile, had these observations:

    My experience at Grand Chapter was a combination of new and old. Participating in College of Chapters in 2015 helped me establish some incredible relationships with Sigma Nus throughout the nation, and I thought I may never get to re-visit them in person.

    What I realized when I arrived in San Diego was that Sigma Nu is for Life.   As I approached many of the brothers and alumni whom I had met in 2015, I expected them to not remember who I was, but I was very surprised when they remembered exactly who I was and that I’m from Auburn and Beta Theta. The one who stood out to me the most was Division Commander Chris Graham of Houston.  Mr. Graham showed not only his love for the undergrads who he is there to lead and inspire, but also his strong love and respect for the fraternity throughout the entire week.  He led by example, not just words.  I hope to one day be as great of a leader as Chris and all of the great leaders I met who are examples of the life bond that is Sigma Nu.

    Grand chapter has inspired me to remain active in Beta Theta for the years following my graduation to ensure continued chapter success at Auburn as well as nationally.  All in all the experience changed my life forever and showed me that Sigma Nu really is a lifelong commitment worth having.

    This was my second Grand Chapter and each time, whether in Nashville or in San Diego, I have been extremely impressed with the number of alumni from all over the country who travel thousands of miles to participate in Grand Chapter and support the Fraternity.  Having already seen one, I had much more appreciation for the traditions and the processes at hand.Justin Moore of Birmingham, Beta Theta 2954,  is the son of Ralph Moore, a Jacksonville State alumnus and member of the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation board.  Justin attended with his family and wrote this:

    As I began meeting past Regents, current High Councilmen, and other honorable alumni, I was gratified at their interest, support, and encouragement.  It was an awesome experience.

    The themes of Love, Honor, and Truth really began to resonate in my mind.  This was all amplified as Brother Perrett became Regent.  He is a Beta Theta himself. He has been where I am standing now and his commitment to Love, Honor, and Truth paved a path of excellence that I am now obligated to follow.  When a brother of your very own chapter assumes the highest position in the entire fraternity, it is eye-opening.

    Experiencing Grand Chapter as a collegian brings you closer to the principles of Love, Honor, and Truth. Perhaps the greatest example for me was the Chapter Eternal report.  It was truly touching to see that no matter where they came from, no matter who they were in their lives, Sigma Nu honors her loved and lost and keeps green their sainted memory.  The values of Love, Honor, and Truth were never more evident to me than at Grand Chapter. The Chapter Eternal allows you to see these values first hand. This is not something we preach and then set aside, this is the core of our fraternity, and it made me proud to see them demonstrated so beautifully. I saw Love as brothers came to the stage to give honor to the lives of their friends; I saw Honor as every single name of a man who had passed in this last two years was given its time to be mourned and also appreciated; and I heard Truth as the collegians conducting the ceremony approached the stage and shared poems and scripture regarding eternity.

    After experiencing Grand Chapter in such a profound manner, it is impossible to come out unaffected.

    You may contact Justin at 205-616-4341 and

  • Eugene McKnight and Mason Cross on Grand Chapter

    By Chapter News 105 Comments

    Eugene McKnight resides in Santa Barbara, California. Mason Cross traveled from Birmingham to meet Gene and they participated in Grand Chapter in San Diego.

    Here’s what Gene had to say:

    Grand Chapter renewed my belief in Sigma Nu.  It was especially refreshing since I am so far from Auburn and my chapter brothers.  It was great to see Lee Perrett and Beta Theta chapter in such strong leadership positions nationally.  Commander James Pateand Lt. Commander Alexander McCall represented the undergraduate chapter exceptionally well.

    The Chapter Eternal ceremony was very moving, much more than I expected, and was done in a beautiful light.

    The awards dinner was simply terrific.  It was a treat to be seated prominently on the first row with Lee and Jan’s three fine sons.  Lee’s recognition of Mason and me in his speech was certainly unexpected and generous.

    All the brothers from every chapter, young and old, were exceptional. What a great group to be associated with. Our Brotherhood is for Life was really the essence of the weekend.  I’m so glad I went!

    If you’d like to contact Gene, he’s at 805-689-6500 and

    Mason Cross, Beta Theta  1761, had this to say:

    In the fall of 1981, while still a collegian, I had the opportunity to attend the wedding of Sigma Nu friend and roommate Gene McKnight in Santa Barbara, California. Since it was a Saturday morning wedding, I had made arrangements to ride back to Los Angeles afterwards with Gino’s father. I had also made plans to stay Saturday night at the Sigma Nu house on the campus of the University of Southern California, so Mr. McKnight dropped me off at the house that afternoon. The brothers at that chapter taught me a lot about Beta Theta’s national reputation of excellence, and they treated me like a celebrity. Today, Lane Dugger’sson is enrolling at Southern Cal and rushing that same chapter.

    Thirty-five years later at the recent Sigma Nu Grand Chapter in San Diego, that reputation grew for me in a very special way. Beta Theta Chapter alums Lee Perrett and Maury Gaston attained very important high offices in the National fraternity.  Lee was elected and became the 65th Regent and Maury was re-elected to the High Council as a Vice Regent.

    It was an honor to attend the conference and see our alumni and our chapter so greatly respected.

    Connect with Mason at 205-533-0276 and

  • Alumni Updates – 1990’s

    By Alumni Updates 83 Comments

    Picklesimer, Benson “Davis” Posted: 5/31/2010 11:39:02 AM
    Class of 1994 Posted by an administrator

    My time at Sigma Nu is being used in a different light today. I was a broken, angry and fatherless young man during my time as a Sigma Nu at Auburn. Most of my friendships were shallow because I would not allow my brothers past my false-self. I primarily turned to alcohol to heal my pain. It wasn’t until many years and mistakes later that I found peace and freedom. I regret the lost opportunities of deeper relationships with my fellow brothers. Currently, I am taking graduate classes to become an Army Chaplain and have had Men’s Ministry training over the last few years. Our soldiers and their families are having a tough time right now and if you know of anyone I can encourage please contact me.

    Parsons, Scott Posted: 5/12/2010 10:04:45 AM
    Class of 1999 Posted by an administrator

    Recently I attended the Alabama Leadership Initiative in Montgomery, a conference hosted by Leadership Alabama focusing on addressing current and future fiscal and education challenges for the state of Alabama. Participants numbered around 75 and were invited from all across the state of Alabama. It ended up being a reunion of sorts for me as I ran into several people I had not seen since school including friends and fellow fraternity brothers Townsend Kyser and William Holmes, pledge class of 1995, who I learned had turned out to be both successful businessmen and fathers in Greensboro, AL. Additionally, one of the presenters at the conference ended being Michael Lynch, pledge class of 1996 I believe, who is responsible for bringing a national education initiative to west Alabama focusing on improving the quality of education for the less privileged in that part of the state. It was a real pleasure to have the opportunity to get reacquainted with old friends but more importantly find them to be advocates and engaged in trying to make their communities and state a better place to live for all.

    Dyer, Joseph Posted: 11/12/2008 12:12:57 PM
    Class of 1992

    Joe (Beta Theta 2113),Katie, and Jacks Dyer are expecting an addition to the family in April. We found out yesterday a baby girl is on the way. Sounds like we are having a 90 year old woman with the name we picked, Cornelia Rose, but it is Katie’s grandmothers’s name and my mother’s name. We will call her Nealy. Can’t wait until tomorrow because we get better looking everyday!

    Marks, William “Bill” Posted: 7/11/2007 8:50:00 AM

    Lieutenant Colonel William (Bill) L. Marks, II was selected for Battalion Command by the Department of the Army Central Selection Board on 14 December 2006. He is slated to assume Command of the 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia in the Summer of 2008. Bill has served in the Army for 17 years since graduating from the University of South Alabama’s ROTC program in 1990. Bill is married to the former Laurie Quick of Columbus, Georgia and has two boys William, III (6 years) and Jacob (3 years). He currently resides in Suffolk, Virginia where he is assigned as a Multinational Logistics Analyst for the United States Joint Forces Command J9-Joint Innovation and Experimentation Directorate.

  • Alumni Updates – 1980’s

    By Alumni Updates 88 Comments

    Jordan, Lee Posted: 5/14/2007 7:54:49 AM
    Class of 1989

    May 13, 2007

    Drug-sniffing dog company serves seven school systems

    By Robert DeWitt
    Staff Writer
    DEMOPOLIS | Lee Jordan’s business has gone to the dogs. And he likes it that way.

    “I’ve always had dogs and always enjoyed working with dogs,” Jordan said. “This gives me the opportunity to do that in my business.”

    Jordan owns the Alabama franchise for Interquest Detection Canines. The company serves as a private contractor to school systems using trained dogs to sniff out illegal, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, alcohol, guns and explosives.

    A Demopolis native, Jordan was working for Coca-Cola in Atlanta when he read about a woman who owned an Interquest franchise there. After finding out that the Alabama franchise was available, he realized that it gave him an opportunity to do something he liked and return home to Alabama.

    A year after buying the franchise, Jordan has seven school systems under contract. He has two dogs and one handler and plans to add one to two more employees during the summer.

    “With today’s society, we’re just taking precautions,” said Marengo County Superintendent of Schools Luke Hallmark, whose system is one of Jordan’s clients. “We know something could happen.”

    Interquest visits schools twice a month on varying schedules. While the dogs haven’t uncovered anything yet, Hallmark thinks the service is still worth it.

    “Our principals have been real receptive,” Hallmark said. “The parents and our community are supportive of it. They would want to know it if their child was involved in something like that.”

    He also believes it’s effective.

    “The kids are aware that at any time the canine may come into the school,” Hallmark said. “I think it’s a good preventive dose of medicine.”

    Dogs that sniff out drugs and explosives have long been associated with law enforcement. Interquest isn’t trying to take the place of law enforcement canines, Jordan said, because it has a different mission.

    Law enforcement dogs are frequently taught to sniff out large amounts of illegal drugs and lethal amounts of explosives. Interquest’s dogs can pick up trace amounts of drugs and gunpowder.

    Because guns, alcohol and prescription and over-the-counter drugs are not illegal, law enforcement dogs are often taught to ignore them. But all of those substances are classified as contraband in schools.

    The amounts don’t have to be big. Jordan remembers one occasion when one of the company’s Labradors signaled an alert on what school officials believed to be an empty locker. In the back, they found a single Benadryl tablet.

    While law enforcement officials typically use aggressive dogs like German shepherds or Belgian Malinois, Interquest uses hunting breeds like golden retrievers and Labradors, breeds most people consider friendly. They work at a steadier pace and instead of scratching and whining when they find contraband, they merely stop and sit down.

    Jordan uses Red, his golden retriever, who calmly approaches when he’s called and wags his tail.

    “Kids are just drawn to him,” Jordan said. “We’ve got some of the best trainers in the world. They’re even trained to go to the bathroom on command. We don’t want them having accidents in schools.”

    Jordan tells Red to “break” and the dog tends to his business on a nearby crepe myrtle.

    Dogs and handlers are trained at the company’s training center in Houston.

    “The main reason [schools] choose us is that we’ve been working in schools so long,” Jordan said. “Our dogs are all trained to find the same scents.”

    On the days dogs aren’t working, they usually receive training. Handlers plant contraband in training areas to make sure dogs are alerting properly.

    Legal standards required to conduct a search are different for Interquest and law enforcement, Jordan said. Because Interquest works for a school system, school officials need only reasonable suspicion to conduct a search. Law enforcement needs probable cause.

    Interquest carries its own liability insurance and documents what it finds, turning it over to school officials to decide if police intervention is needed.

    Law enforcement often wants schools locked down while they conduct a search, while Interquest encourages schools to continue routine operations.

    “School administrators want their school safe and we are a tool to do that,” Jordan said. “On the other hand, there’s minimal disruption. It’s not a police state while we’re there.”

    Availability is also an advantage. Police canines are called on for a variety of circumstances. Interquest focuses on schools.

    Interquest officials say they aren’t trying to replace law enforcement canines. In fact Jordan said, the company’s dogs wouldn’t make good law enforcement animals. Stopping to alert their handlers of guns, bullets, and prescription and over-the-counter drugs would waste police time.

    Most law enforcement officials welcome the company, he said.

    “I think they like having us around,” Jordan said. “It gives them another tool to keep these things off campus. Some people say we’re a private company doing law enforcement’s job. But that’s not the case.”

    Jordan said the knowledge that the dogs could come to a school at any given moment serves as a deterrent preventing students bringing contraband on campus.

    “They get tired of flushing it down the toilet,” Jordan said. “When you’re there, you see kids heading for the bathroom kind of quick.”

    It really doesn’t matter if the schools don’t catch students in possession, Jordan said.

    “If they go to the bathroom and flush it, it’s off campus,” Jordan said. “That’s our goal. It becomes a deterrent once you go through and clean up the problem you’ve got.”

    Law enforcement agencies often offer the service free to schools. But Interquest is also a Title IV-approved vendor, so schools can apply for federal grants targeted at eliminating drugs from schools.

    When Interquest was founded in 1988, the focus was on finding fireworks in school.

    “You see how far we’ve come from that,” Jordan said. “We’ve found everything under the sun, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, guns, and alcohol.”

    He hopes the company gives school officials peace of mind.

    “The biggest benefit is that the school administrators know if we have been through their school, they know their school is clean,” Jordan said.

    Reach Robert DeWitt at or at 205-722-0203 or 866-400-8477, ext. 203.

    Russell (robby russell), Robby Posted: 10/31/2006 9:10:10 AM
    Class of 1985



    We rented this Winnebago for the AU-UGA game in Athens. Christened it the MPU (Mobile Party Unit), did a little decorating to show our school spirit, loaded up, and headed out on Friday afternoon.

    Somewhere outside of Atlanta, we got pulled over by a GA State Trooper who took exception to some of our mobile artwork ( “Herchel Walker is Illegitimate” in giant blue letters on the side of the Winnie). He let us go after we promised to wash it off immediately.

    We parked and “slept” at the UGA coliseum Friday night, and by Saturday morning, we were all in dire need of a good long pregame shower. We headed over to Athens Sigma Nu House around 7:00 AM, set a pair of Subaru-sized Peavey loudspeakers outside, turned the volume up to 11 and put on a recording of Auburn football highlights and fight songs while we invited ourselves into the house,comandeered their showers, and used up all of their hot water.

    Oddly, our Athens brothers never invited us back.

    I’ve no idea who won that game.

  • Alumni Updates – 1970’s

    By Alumni Updates 14 Comments

    Class of 1978

    Dave Cody ,Fox Sports,FSN Southwest, Austin,Texas,known as Magnet to my Sigma Nu brothers.
    Glad Austin High receiver Emory Blake is going to Auburn. He is a very nice and talented kid who is the son of former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake who works for Triton Financial. Emory couldn’t wait to wear his Auburn “gear” at his signing in February.
    Great to have seen Brother Lee Perrett again at last summer’s national chapter convention in Austin. He sent his son to Texas
    continuing a trend that started with Gene Chizik and Will Muschamp.
    Recently I emceed an event honoring Richard Quick the Auburn swim coach and former Texas women’s coach who is fighting an inoperable brain tumor. I have known Richard since I worked as a lifeguard at the old 25 yard Auburn indoor pool and he was Eddie Reese’s assistant and we played in a golf outing while I was a TV sportscaster in Huntsville. Please keep Richard in your thoughts and prayers. I lost two of my favorite brothers in the past year Dave Poundstone and Ed Wadley(former roomate after college) along with my only pledge brother Paul Saia the year before.

    War Eagle and Hook ‘Em Horns,
    Dave Cody Beta Theta 1699

    Thomas, John Posted: 5/4/2007 11:39:46 AM
    Posted by an administrator

    I wanted to let the Sigma Nu’s at Auburn know about the death of John David Thomas of Gadsden on December 29, 2006.

    – Peggy Thomas Taylor (sister)

    Thomas, George Posted: 10/18/2006 10:31:18 AM
    Class of 1974 Posted by an administrator

    Funniest Memory: Amidst the Paris Peace Talks over the Viet Nam War, Auburn became known for what turned out to be quite a diversion from the worries of the world. The ancient tradition of panty raids was displaced temporarily by the 1970’s fad of campus streaking. Streaking was supposedly invented at Auburn. One of the Glomeratas documents the the way it was at Auburn in or around 1971. As I recall, our chapter did have member(s) who contributed to the phenomenon. The fad spread across the nation before fading out. Streaking even made for one of the more memorable (forgetable) scenes in the recent movie “”Old School””.

  • Alumni Updates – 1960’s

    By Alumni Updates 470 Comments

    Class of 1968 Beta Theta 1305–Served 28 years in United States Air Force after graduating from Auburn–Spent 9 years at Saint James High School Teaching & Varsity Baseball Coach & Jr Varsity Football Coach–My wife Rheta & I now live at 172 Mountain Laurel Rd , Wetumpka Al,36093–Located on the 18th fairway at Emerald Mt Golf Course just minutes from Montgomery. We attend all AU Football Games plus this years Outback Bowl in Tampa–War Eagle

    Sharp, John Posted: 1/12/2010 9:03:53 AM
    Class of 1969 Posted by an administrator

    I retired from the Fabrics Division of the Russell Corporation in August 2009 and now have my own vacation rental management company in the north Georgia mountains resort of Big Canoe. My wife, the former Rebecca Bradley, Phi Mu Class of ’70, and I have lived in Big Canoe for three years. We have four children and three grand children in Atlanta. I am the new Secretary of the North Georgia Mountains Auburn Club and look forward to attending meetings in Auburn with the Alumni Association. You can reach me at,, 11599 Big Canoe, Big Canoe, Ga. 30143, 770 843-2651.

    Hollis, C “Frazier” Posted: 3/11/2009 11:51:27 AM
    Class of 1965

    Thomas Frederick Hazuda died on 2/26/2009. He was initiated into our Beta Theta chapter in the winter of 1962. Tommy was originally from Florence, Al., and spent 37 years in the Birmingham area with Regions Bank. He had been fighting lung cancer for the last 18 months.

    Tommy has been my good friend since the seventh grade and I will miss him. He loved Auburn and the Sigma Nus. Both of his daughters( Ann and Mary) were AOPi’s and graduated from AU in the late 90’s .

    His wife is Rebecca Hazuda; 3017 Panaridge Circle; Birmingham, AL., 35216-4105

    Frazier Hollis 1182

    Pinkard, Dennis Posted: 6/13/2007 7:18:24 AM
    Class of 1969

    I am retiring in June 07 and we are moving to Auburn. My new address is 749 Carpenters Way, Auburn 36830.

  • John Burgess Recognized for 50 Years in the Legion of Honor

    By Chapter News 428 Comments

    Chapter advisor and mentor to many, John R. “Mr. Burgess” Burgess, Jr., was recently presented with his 50-year alumni lapel pin. Mr. Burgess was originally initiated into the Iota chapter at Samford University in 1965 as Iota 895 and a year later affiliated in Auburn as Beta Theta 1419. Mr. Burgess’ son, John, is Beta Theta 2321, being initiated in 1996.

    John was recognized in 2004 as Sigma Nu’s national Chapter Advisor of the Year. In 2013, the chapter presented and planted an oak tree at the chapter house in his honor. John is also a member of the John M. Ward Alumni Hall of Honor.

    John is retired from University Admissions but works in peak-demand season, and his wife, Betty, is retired from Auburn City Schools. When not helping the chapter, they like to travel and also be at Martin Lake. You can follow them on Betty’s Facebook page!

    If you’d like a lapel pin such as the one pictured here, call headquarters at 540-463-1869, ask for Patricia or Rebecca, and order one or more. These can make a meaningful gift for your Sigma Nu pals, and you’ll be surprised at the positive conversations that wearing one will begin.

    To congratulate John for 50 years and to thank Betty for her support, send them a note at

    Pictured right: Shown here at the 2013 dedication of an oak tree at the Beta Theta chapter house at Auburn University in honor of long-time chapter advisor, John M. Ward Alumni Hall of Honor member, and 2004 national Chapter Advisor of the Year John R. Burgess are, from right to left, daughter Elizabeth Burgess; son John Burgess, III; Betty, and John Burgess.

    Pictured above: To order a lapel pin for yourself or a pal, call headquarters at 540-463-1869.