Sigma Phi Epsilon

 These words, spoken by our founder, Carter Ashton Jenkens, continue to define Sigma Phi Epsilon. Jenkens, the 18-year-old son of a minister, had been a student at Rutgers University, New Jersey, where he joined Chi Phi Fraternity. When he transferred to Richmond College in the Fall of 1900, he sought companions to take the place of the Chi Phi brothers he had left behind. He found five men who had already been friends and urged them to join him in applying for a charter of Chi Phi at Richmond College. The request for a charter was forwarded to Chi Phi only to meet with refusal. Chi Phi felt that Richmond College was too small for the establishment of a Chi Phi chapter.

     Still intent on creating an organization of their own, these young men discussed the organization of a fraternity they would call "Sigma Phi."  However, their request was questioned by a faculty committee of Richmond College, on grounds that there was already a national fraternity in existence named Sigma Phi.  Also, the committee questioned the need of another fraternity on campus since there were already five on campus and a student body of less than 300 people, as well as the wisdom of creating a fraternity with 12 members, seven of whom were seniors.

      To this, the men responded, 
"This fraternity will be different, it will be based on the love of God and the principle of peace through brotherhood. The number of members will be increased from the undergraduate classes. We will change the name to Sigma Phi Epsilon."


Alabama Beta Chapter

     In September 1924, eight men founded Delta Sigma Epsilon at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. After filling out a formal petition for a charter from Sigma Phi Epsilon, the men were granted a charter on December 14, 1927. Delta Sigma Epsilon was officially nationalized by Sigma Phi Epsilon forming the Alabama Beta Chapter at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. 

     In 1946, an active member, tired of living in inadequate rented living quarters, flung a dollar to the floor with a challenge: "Men, we've got to start the ball rolling. We must have a new chapter house." On October 23, 1949, the university made the chapter a loan of $30,000, this being the biggest loan to a fraternity chapter at the time. The two-story brick veneer structure located west of the University infirmary about 50 yards from University Blvd. The house consisted of 26 rooms and a large attic. The first floor is composed of  two date parlors, a music room, Matron’s apartment, ladies’ powder room, kitchen and pantry facilities, dining room, and a living room. The dining room could accommodate 36 men in shifts. The following rooms made up the second floor: nine study rooms, two sleeping porches, and a master bath.  The sleeping porches accommodated 16 men on each wing. The attic was used as a chapter room. In the 1950’s, the new house hosted parties such as the Klondike party, where brothers dressed like gold miners, and the O'Christmas party. The Chapter held its annual Golden Heart Ball commemorating the Fraternity's Founder’s Day on November 1st in Foster Auditorium. Brothers gave pearl bracelets, red roses and violets, and danced to the jazz tunes of the Alabama Cavalries. As the Alabama Beta chapter succeeded in the social part of Greek life, our academic endeavors were also among the highest of Alabama Greek life. The chapter also took home awards through the years in intramural and other campus activates such wood piling and marathons. 

     The original chapter house burnt down in 1984 due to unknown reasons. In 1987, a new chapter house was built and remained the chapter house until 2008. After a brief absence on campus, the chapter returned to campus in 2010. Beginning in 2014, the chapter took up residence in a temporary chapter house until 2017 when the chapter will move into its permanent chapter house on University Blvd. 

     Since 2010, the AL Beta chapter has excelled in many areas on campus. The chapter has consistently held the spot of highest GPA since returning to campus. Additionally, AL Beta has received numerous Greek Excellence awards in the past couple years as well as consecutively winning the Dr. Robert E. Witt Cup for Most Outstanding Greek Organization for the '13-'14 and '14-'15 school years.

In 2016, The University of Alabama Board of Trustees approved a housing loan for the AL Beta chapter. As a result, the chapter purchased a house on University Blvd. and began the process of expanding and renovating the current house. Construction is due to begin in Fall 2016 and complete in July 2017, in time for the Fall 2017 semester. For more information on this, click the following link: New Chapter House