• Fraternity Alumni
    Fraternity Alumni Thoughts from the Alumni Services Department for Sigma Pi Fraternity, International

What's new in Alumni Services? We've got a few large projects in store that we're really excited about:

  • Libra - Libra is a custom database the Alumni & Communications departments took intiative to build. This database will expand our opportunities to long-term track our volunteer, housing corporation, alumni club and chapter accredidation programs as well as store critical historical data on our Chapters and Colonies. We are excited to continue to build out portions of this program to potentially make avaiable to volunteers at a later date.
  • Mentoring & Networking solutions - Sigma Pi will have a large announcement to release soon, but we're going to keep quite about it until we're ready. In the meantime, just imagine the possibilities if you were able to connect with every alumnus in a professional online platform.
  • Graduation Cross - In last month's blog, you heard about the Graduation Cross. After mailing out nearly 500 cards, our survey targeted those alumni, asking them what they thought. 9/10 graduates rated the new mailing 5 out of 5 stars, and loved the Sigma Pi Alumni decal inside. Read what some had to say..

"It is a great demonstration of how brotherhood goes beyond College years, a great reminder that being in this fraternity is for life. Also very informational on how to stay connected, albeit emails do the same, but a handwritten address and physical print out holds a lot more value. And the free car sticker is a very nice touch :)"

"I think it was a really cool presentation that made me actually pay attention to it versus just throwing it away"

"Simple and informative. I thought the decal was cool!"


That's all folks! Check back to learn more about my second point next month!

What to know what is new in Alumni Services? Check out what we've been working on...

  • Updating your contact information is easier than ever - The only way we can keep in contact with our alumni is by making sure our membership database is up to date. Without this, keeping those members informed is impossible. We've managed to build the technology and processes to keep all members better informed, all you have to do is visit sigmapi.org/updateinfo and fill out the form.
  • New and Improved version of The Emerald - If you haven't recieved previous issues of The Emerald, see the note above. In this new edition, we've put our priority on content. We're relying on our campus partners and dedicated volunteers to curate dynamic content that applies to all members in all stages of their lives.
  • Reaching out to graduating alumni - Sigma Pi should be there to celebrate our member's graduation. Our new graduation cross will be shipped to every alumnus upon graduation, and will inform them on 4 areas of being an alumnus: Whats next in your Sigma Pi Journey? Understanding the Mission, Vision and opportunities with the Sigma Pi Educational Foundation, Opportunities to become a Volunteer and Ways to Donate. Check out our short reveal video: 

As members of Sigma Pi, we hope that what we do as an organization (and the work of our chapters) has a positive effect on the lives of our members.  I have had the opportunity a couple of times over the 20-something (and counting) years that I’ve been an alumnus to see directly, and be told by undergraduates, just how they have been changed by their membership in our fraternity.

One of the things I get to do as Director of Alumni Services is receive notices from friends and family when a brother dies.  Over the last month or so, I have received several notices.  Two of them stick out that I would like to share on this blog.

The first was a letter from Suzanne Pierce.  She wrote to notify us that her father, Norman O. Pierce (Gamma, Ohio State ’41) passed away on September 8, 2014.  Suzanne wrote, “It was his love and loyalty to his fraternity that influenced all three of his daughters to join sororities at Ohio State.”  With her letter, Suzanne enclosed a donation to the Sigma Pi Educational Foundation in memory of her father, along with sending us her father’s badge.  She wanted to be sure that it found its way back to Sigma Pi.

Brother Norman Pierce's badge, chapter guard, and officer emblem. 


The other letter I received contains the story of another member of Sigma Pi, and how the fraternity had a positive impact on his and other lives.  This letter came from Christina Poff.  She is the daughter of Alfred L. Poff (Beta-Omega, Lock Haven ’66).  Christina wrote me recently to let us know about the passing of her father.

Christina wrote, “Alfred L. Poff was a very proud Sigma Pi Fraternity brother for over fifty years.  My father was initiated into Beta-Omega Chapter on May 8, 1964.  After graduation from college, he married my mother and become a middle school / high school teacher, instructing science and biology.  He also held a secondary job of Health Officer for three different boroughs for many years.  He was very active in his family life, his career, his church, and his community.  He was a highly respected man in all facets of his life.  His favored role was that of a husband and father.

“Often while (I was) growing up, my father would share his memories of his college days, nothing these were some of the happiest years of his life.  A large part of that happiness was found in the brotherhood of Sigma Pi.  As a curious teenager, I asked my father many questions about Sigma Pi.  However, you may be pleased to know he never gave up any ‘secrets.’  And if there were any, he took them to his grave!

“After my father’s death, I realize just how much of an impact Sigma Pi had on (him).  Quite simply, Sigma Pi taught him how to be a ‘man.’  Growing up, my father didn’t have any male role models, as his father had died when my father was a child.  He was raised primarily by his mother and grandmother.  His only sibling was a younger sister.

“Just like a pebble thrown into a pond, the water ripples reach far beyond the spot where it was thrown.  Through the experiences and life lessons my father endured, it is evident that his morals, values, principles, and beliefs reached far beyond him.  It has rippled through his children, his former students, and the countless people he interacted with throughout his lifetime.

“One former student worked at the hospital where my father was in intensive care.  He explained to my father how he had impacted his life, stating that he now works as a respiratory therapist.  Later, my father informed me that this student had been involved with drugs and gang activities.  My father, as his teacher, had reached out to him at a critical point, spent time talking with him, and guided him along a positive path.

“We will never know how many people Alfred L. Poff had a positive impact on.  However, we do know that Sigma Pi Fraternity had a tremendous impact on molding his character.”

On August 15, 2014, Brother Alfred L. Poff passed to the Adytum on High. 

What impact has your Sigma Pi lifetime membership had on your life?  How has your Sigma Pi experience touched others?  Please share your stories with us by emailing me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Your story could be featured here. 

In a previous entry on this blog, I shared with you some details about the Governor Mike Beebe Veterans Fund and the involvement of Sigma Pi with the gala.  This Veterans Day, I want to bring you the story of a soldier who received one of the Governor Mike Beebe Veterans Fund Scholarships.

His name is SSGT Levi Crawford.  He was born and raised in Jonesboro, Arkansas.  Though he is not a Sigma Pi, Levi’s story is noteworthy and part of why he was awarded one of the Beebe scholarships.

Levi was active in the JROTC program at his high school, participating in the cadet challenge team, rifle team, drill team, and navigation team.  He held the highest rank, Battalion Commander, during his senior year of high school.  Levi joined the Army National Guard a few days after turning 17.  He went through basic training and AIT at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri.  Afterward, he entered drilling status with the 1036th Combat Engineers and enrolled as a student at Arkansas State University.

Levi shared his story in his application for one of the Beebe Scholarships, “My unit was activated for a route clearance tour in Iraq in 2006.  Being that I was in college and participating in ROTC, I was not required to go.  But I decided to withdraw from ASU and go with my guys.”  The deployment ended up being 18 months long – 6 months of training and 12 months overseas.

SSGT Levi Crawford & his fiancee Casi

at the Governor Mike Beebe Veterans Fund Gala


 “During that deployment, I was stationed at Camp Anaconda.  Our mission was to find IED’s (route clearance), and my job was lead gunner for our patrol.  We had a very active deployment, routinely getting into enemy engagements and finding IED’s.  Although it was dangerous, with almost daily missions, the mindset was not ‘I wonder if anything is going to happen today,’ but more ‘I wonder where it is going to happen today.’

“We had our share of hard times during the deployment.  Several people were hurt, including my two roommates and my very good friend and workout partner.  We also lost a good soldier who was a great, fun-loving friend of mine.”

After his unit returned home from Iraq, Levi returned to college at Arkansas State.  That is, until another deployment came up.  This time it was Afghanistan, with the same mission he had in Iraq, route clearance.  Levi once again withdrew from college to deploy with his unit.

He wrote, “I was stationed at COP Wilson Afghanistan.  Our mission was the same, but my job had changed.  Before the deployment I attended several schools, one of which was a school to learn how to teach/train other soldiers.  So for the pre-deployment training, I was training other guys on the weapon systems, rules of engagement, and tips and tricks I had learned, along with getting them in the right frame of mind to be a good gunner.

“As we started missions, I was mostly the lead gunner.  But shortly after, I was asked if I would take the role of the lead TC, which is in charge of the lead vehicle.  Not very many missions later, on 20 May 2010, we geared up and started the mission, just like every other day before.  Except this one packed a surprise.

“We got settled into the vehicle for another long, hot mission and left the gate.  Less than 15 minutes into the mission, and I believe still in eyesight of our COP, we rolled up to a culvert.  Culverts are a popular place for IED’s to be hidden, so I told the driver to slow and get close to the edge.  I leaned against the window, pressing my helmet against (it) to look down in the culvert.  As I looked down, a loud boom rang out and I was slammed into the side of the vehicle.

“When coming to a moment later, not sure what had happened, I asked if everyone was OK.  My gunner was in shock, but fine.  My driver, though, was hurt pretty bad.  I was blinded from the blast.  Not knowing the extent of my driver’s injuries, or mine, I told the gunner to get on the radio and call for two urgent surgical.  This let the convoy commander and everyone know we had two soldiers that were severely injured and needed assistance.  It was very loud and I knew medical assistance would take a minute.  I was completely blinded, but I could hear small arms fire that I knew was not us, along with our crew weapons ringing out.  Then another distinct sound of an RPG that made me cringe up, even though I was in pain and it hurt to move.

“(There was) the sound of enemy artillery exploding all around, followed by the very distinct ‘woosh’ sound of another RPG being fired and the explosion when it hits.

“With all the adrenaline pumping and shock, I did not even realize we were hit with an RPG-7, which has a heat round that burns very hot to melt armor, until my driver said something.  Not being able to see or move much but my left arm, I was left helpless and felt even worse not being able to help my driver.  The only thing I could do was talk to him.  So that is what I did, trying to bring a level of calm to the situation.

“Sometime during the engagement, I blacked out, and do not remember much of anything until being in the intensive care unit at Walter Reed.  I regained vision in one eye and knew I was in the hospital.  I was very glad to see my family in the room.  I never regained vision in the other eye, had limb salvage surgery on my right arm, suffered a traumatic brain injury, and received a lot of shrapnel from my knees to my head.”

Levi says, “I am now out of Walter Reed, somewhat of a medical miracle in my recovery, and now going back to college, where I am getting a minor in renewable energy.  I have not yet decided on a major.  Another reason I am attending school, and perhaps the most beneficial, is for my mental well-being.  I am 28 years old and retired.  To most people, that sounds like a dream come true.  But for me, 28 is too young to be retired and not doing anything.  I found myself out of my house alone and bored 90% of the time, which quickly becomes depressing.  The social interactions of being a student and the mental challenges of class have already made a difference for me.”

Sigma Pi Educational Foundation Director Lisa Pearson, who attended the Beebe Gala said, “I had the privilege of meeting Purple Heart recipient SSGT Levi Crawford that evening.  He touched on his military story and his appreciation for the financial support received from the veterans fund to continue his secondary education.

“One area Levi talked about was how the Beck PRIDE Center on the Arkansas State University campus played a tremendous role, not just in his enrollment process and applying for financial aid for college, but in the reintegration back into society after returning from war.  SSGT Crawford spoke of the ladies at the Beck PRIDE Center, Ms. Lynda Nash, Executive Director, Susan Tonymon, Former Executive Director and Kelly McCoy, Service Specialist and how they assisted him with his doctors’ visits and medication.  He credits them for being a part of his recovery process.  

“He talked about while at Walter Reed recovering from being wounded overseas where they gave him his daily schedule filled with doctor’s visits and times of when to take his daily meds.  He had no idea when he returned home this daily routine would be all on him.  This is where the ladies of the Beck PRIDE Center stepped in and assisted, directing him to doctors and reminding him to take his meds. 

She continued, “He also spoke of his fiancé Casie, who upon hearing of him being seriously wounded, rushed to his bedside at Walter Reed and stayed by his side every day of his recovery.  He said that seeing her face when he awoke was the most beautiful sight he had seen.  He knew he was alive.”    

The mission of the Beck PRIDE Center is: To provide combat wounded veterans with first class educational programs and services at Arkansas State University. These include, but are not limited to: resources to access to the higher education experience, resources for counseling, personal rehabilitation, advocacy, and financial assistance; supporting these individuals to achieve their post military service goals.

The Beck PRIDE Center is focused on Personal Rehabilitation, Individual Development and Education.


The Beck PRIDE Center is located in a university setting to provide a centralized opportunity for veterans to:

  1. Explore career options through counseling and testing
  2. Participate in skill or placement testing as necessary
  3. Secure an academic advisor to develop a degree plan of study
  4. Utilize the specialized physical and mental rehabilitation services that are available including physical therapy, speech language pathology and mental health counseling
  5. Utilize our veterans' educational services officer for benefits advisement
  6. Include family members who desire education on care giving and need counseling
  7. Identify other services that may be essential to them
  8. Be referred when necessary

We salute SSGT Levi Crawford, and all of the Veterans who have served this country through the years.  Thank you Veterans!   For more on the Beck PRIDE Center, visit: http://www.astate.edu/a/beck-pride-center/

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About Phil Aiello

Phil Aiello serves as the Alumni Services & Communications Consultant for Sigma Pi Fraternity, International. Founded in 1897, Sigma Pi Fraternity is the leading, international men's collegiate fraternal organization which provides training, guidance and innovative opportunities for Leadership Development, Social and Personal Development, Academic Achievement, Community Service and Heightened Moral Awareness for its brothers throughout their lives.

Contact Phil:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 615.921.2323

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