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The Sigma Nu Educational Foundation is pleased to report that planning continues for an exciting initiative to build an important leadership development facility in Lexington, Virginia, on the campus of the Fraternity’s Headquarters. This facility will become an important tool in meeting the Fraternity’s mission to develop ethical leaders through the expanded programs available with the space created by this facility.

"The fraternity experience is important to our nation's future." - Dr. William S. Spears (Oklahoma State)

The new facility will offer important enhancements to the capabilities currently available at our Headquarters. First, the facility will allow increased capacity for chapter groups that make pilgrimages to Lexington, an important component of member education and development. Second, the facility will be available for use in hosting ethical leadership development programs similar to College of Chapters to greatly expand the reach of such programs. The facility will allow students to eat and sleep in the same location where the programs will be provided—all within the environment in which Sigma Nu was founded. In addition, a portion of the facility will provide climate-controlled space to preserve our Fraternity’s historical records and artifacts.

The catalyst for this initiative was a challenge pledge from Dr. William S. Spears (Oklahoma State) of $1.5 million. Dr. Spears’ challenge was met by members of his own chapter, Epsilon Epsilon, with the goal being the initial funding required for the creation of The Spears Family Epsilon Epsilon Center for Excellence.

Dr. William S. Spears (Oklahoma State).

The architect selected by the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation, Brother Eddie Gontram (North Carolina State), developed the initial set of plans and renderings for the facility. The Educational Foundation is pleased to present these initial renderings. While significant funds have been raised for the new facility, numerous opportunities remain for donors to contribute to this important project.

Dr. Spears was inspired to make his initial gift by his own experiences in Sigma Nu. He said, “I feel indebted to Sigma Nu for the leadership capabilities I developed during my time with the chapter.” About 15 years ago, his chapter made its first pilgrimage to Lexington and integrated it into their candidate education program going forward. The trip from Stillwater, Oklahoma, to Lexington, Virginia, requires a 21-hour bus ride each way. But this trip has proven to be an outstanding means of demonstrating the culture of the honor principle espoused by our Founders and the development of leaders who are mindful of our history, heritage and traditions. The chapter, like Dr. Spears, believes there are important developmental enhancements to the university classroom experience only provided by the fraternity experience and, as Dr. Spears has often stated, “The fraternity experience is important to our nation’s future.” 

The Educational Foundation has worked closely with the Fraternity staff to identify the specific needs for increased leadership development capabilities. These needs, addressed in the plans for the new state-of-the-art and innovative facility, include:

  • A space for large groups of students to gather for leadership education sessions and meal functions.
  • Breakout spaces to allow small group learning.
  • Lodging capacity for up to 75 for use in chapter visits as well as new leadership development programs.
  • Climate-controlled space to maintain Sigma Nu’s historical artifacts and chapter files, which are important reminders of the principles and activities that have led to the current excellence of our organization.


The meeting, conference, and lodging spaces will allow the Fraternity to offer leadership development and education to a much broader segment of our students—possibly up to 300 students in summer sessions spread across 4 or 5 weeks. The new facility will also be capable of housing nearly all chapter groups wishing to make an overnight pilgrimage to Lexington during the academic year—which is currently not the case.

Rendering of The Spears Family Epsilon Epsilon Center for Excellence.

This wonderful facility—when completed—will be one of the premier leadership education facilities in the fraternity and sorority community, as well as one of the most modern and functional buildings for hosting more and larger visits by our chapters.

"I now call upon our entire membership...to assist in making this Center for Excellence a reality" - Sigma Nu Educational Foundation Chairman Robert Durham (Georgia/Auburn)

When Dr. Spears first issued his pledge challenge, he said, “It is our expectation that this collaborative effort to support Sigma Nu will be the spark that prompts Brothers from other chapters to join what has become a growing coalition of alumni dedicated to making Sigma Nu the most formidable men’s fraternal organization in North America.” The Brothers of Epsilon Epsilon and others have continued to make pledges to meet that challenge—but the support of others is needed to help make this facility a reality. Sigma Nu Educational Foundation encourages all Sigma Nu Brothers—alumni and collegians—and family and friends to support its fund-raising efforts to bring this project to fruition.

Past Regent and current Sigma Nu Educational Foundation Chairman Robert Durham (Georgia) has often spoken of our “obligation to excellence” in all of Sigma Nu’s operations. “We are extremely appreciative of the gifts of Dr. Spears and the Epsilon Epsilon alumni in meeting the obligation to excellence by advancing an initiative that is critical to increasing our capability to develop ethical leaders,” Durham said. “Our Foundation has worked with the Fraternity and our architect to create an initial design of the building required to fulfill that initiative.  I now call upon our entire membership in the Legion of Honor to assist in making this Center for Excellence a reality by making a tax-deductible contribution to the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation.”

Are your ready to meet the call to action? If so, please contact Joe Gilman, interim President of the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation, at joe.gilman@sigmanu.org or via phone at 540-463-1869, extension 825.

© 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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