Chapter News

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

  • 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.