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Dedicated: The Spears Family Epsilon Epsilon Center for Excellence

Lexington, Va. - Friday, February 17, 2023, will not soon be forgotten in the annals of The Legion of Honor. On this date, at 9 North Lewis Street in Lexington, Virginia, the latest physical structure on the beautiful grounds of Sigma Nu Fraternity Headquarters – the Spears Family Epsilon Epsilon Center for Excellence – was dedicated to the pursuit of Sigma Nu’s honorable Mission to develop ethical leaders.

Guests of honor at the Dedication Luncheon and Ribbon Cutting were Dr. William S. Spears (Oklahoma State/Texas Tech) and his wife Candye of Dallas, Texas. Dr. Spears’ challenge gift of $1.5 million to the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation and the gifts of almost 300 Brothers of Epsilon Epsilon – along with the gifts of many additional Brothers – made possible the construction of the most significant educational facility since the acquisition and renovation of the Ethical Leadership Center and Carriage House in the late 1980s.

Almost 70 Brothers – including the Foundation’s Voting Directors, three Past Chairmen, and two Past Regents – staff, family members, and guests enjoyed a delicious luncheon provided by the Southern Inn, a Lexington classic, in the spacious large meeting room of the Center for Excellence. Guests included numerous leaders of the City of Lexington, the Chamber of Commerce, representatives of Kappa Alpha Order, multiple VMI graduates and three current VMI Cadets, and members of the architecture, engineering, and construction teams. Special representatives of the Epsilon Epsilon Chapter were Brothers Neil Gilpin and Stan Bugh – in addition to Foundation Voting Director and Past Regent Joe Francis.

Introductions were provided by Foundation President Brad Beacham (Texas Christian), with the event program in the capable hands of Foundation Chairman Todd Eliason (Montana State) and keynote speaker, the inimitable Col. Keith Gibson (Georgia), VMI Historian and Sigma Nu Fraternity Grand Historian. The blessing was provided by Lexington Vice Mayor Marylin Evans Alexander – daughter of one of Sigma Nu’s earlier Lexington employees, Mr. George Evans – and the benediction by Lexington Mayor Frank W. Friedman.

As always, Col. Gibson’s remarks were fully engaging as he asked those gathered to ponder what the Founders of The Legion of Honor might think of what has become of their small resolve, formed on that moonlit October night in 1868. Col. Gibson then perfectly described the educational and developmental value to our collegiate and alumni Brothers of visiting this special place and commended Dr. Spears and others for their vision and generosity in fueling the growth of such education and development.

The program culminated with Chairman Eliason announcing the induction of Dr. Spears into the Fletcher Honor Society – the highest honor bestowed by the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation. Dr. Spears became the 11th inductee. Dr. Spears then offered remarks, noting that philanthropy, at its heart, is a sign of the gratitude of the donor. He described his gratitude for what Sigma Nu has provided him over the course of his lifetime, particularly the lessons of leadership he learned at the Epsilon Epsilon Chapter, and expressed his appreciation for the Fletcher Honor Society induction. In speaking of his philanthropic endeavors for Oklahoma State University, Southern Methodist University, and Sigma Nu, Dr. Spears reminded all present that within such institutions, we “are preparing messengers to times and places we will never see” and “we must do a good job.”

The Center for Excellence more than doubles the Headquarters’ capacity to provide lodging for collegiate and alumni Brothers making the pilgrimage to Lexington and more than triples the amount of

educational meeting space. The Center for Excellence will allow Sigma Nu to exponentially increase the number of those participating in the educational pilgrimage program and the launch of a new leadership development program for emerging collegiate leaders during the summer months. In doing so, the Spears Family Epsilon Epsilon Center for Excellence fortifies and advances The Legion of Honor.

Photos from the dedication can be found on the Fraternity’s official Flickr page

© 2015-2022 Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: (540) 463-1869 | Fax: (540) 463-1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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