On March 9th, 2018 the San Diego Area Alumni Association hosted its annual Founders Day Dinner to celebrate the 162nd anniversary of the founding of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. The event held at the Bahia Resort Hotel captured the spirit of what being aΣΑΕ is all about. The evening was well attended by Alumni and Active Members alike. In addition to our three local chapters, we had attendees from across the realm, including Brothers from outside San Diego County, New York, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Washington, New Hampshire, Maine, Ohio and Texas. The evening began with a little over an hour of fellowship as Brothers shared stories and cocktails. Many got enjoyment out of viewing scrapbooks of past photos presented by John McMullen (CA-TH ’70) as well as viewing our Association Charter which was established in 1932 and signed by Alfred K. Nippert and John O. Moseley to name a few. As is usual each year, a Brother who has not been seen for many years will pop in to the surprise of many. This year was no different as Brother Dennis O'Neel (CA-TH ’65) joined the festivities.
Following cocktails the evening was called to order by our event’s Master of Ceremonies, Joe Farrage (CA-TH ’89), and the Brothers were led in offering the ΣAE Grace by Brother Dick Troncone (CA-TH ’65). The Brothers remained standing in a “moment” of silence for Brothers who had recently passed on to Chapter Eternal. Brother Farrage then welcomed everyone and introduced the past recipients of the Richard Troncone Brother of the Year Award. Following their recognition with applause, Brother Farrage moved on to the introduction of the head table which included the EAs from our area chapters at UCSD, San Diego State University, and Cal State San Marcos. Of course the introduction of these gentlemen brought enthusiastic cheers from those Active Brothers in attendance.
Following another wonderful meal presented by the Bahia Resort Hotel, the evening reconvened with the presentation by Brother Gary Martin (CA-TH ’81) of the winner of the Capture the Flag contest. The chapter with the highest percentage of its members in attendance at Founders Day was presented with a new ΣΑΕ flag. This year's flag was presented for the second straight year to the Brothers of our Cal Chi chapter at UCSD.
Following the presentation of the ΣΑΕ flag, Brother Gary Martin called on the three most recent past EAs to come to the front. Brother Martin explained to the EAs present that on behalf of the Board of Directors and the Association we would like to thank them for their effort and dedication as leaders of their chapters. In recognition each past EA was presented with a personally engraved EA badge for them to wear proudly through graduation and more importantly as alumni of ΣΑΕ.
Brother Martin then continued by asking the three current EAs to join the past EAs at the front of the room as each was presented with their own personally engraved EA badge. It was explained that not only were these presented to them in recognition of their own effort and dedication, but they are now expected to attend next year's Founders Day so they can pin next year's EA of their chapter. And so a tradition was born.
Following the EA badge presentations the EAs of each chapter (Arya Jahan - Cal Chi, Matt Burns - Cal Theta, and Tommy Lavake - Cal Alpha Gamma) spoke on the state of their chapters. It was great to hear how well our young men are doing and the accomplishments they have achieved.
Next we heard from Province Chi Alpha Archon Austin Evans (WA-AL ’05) as he shared the state of our fraternity and the direction that our great organization is heading on a regional and national level. With all of the headlines made in Greek communities through the country last year it was great to hear a positive outlook on where we are headed as a fraternity.
The high point of the evening was the presentation of the “2018 Richard Troncone Brother of the Year Award” to Gary Keehner (WA- AL ’62). Following the presentation of the award by Association President, Adam Porter (CA-TH ’02), and Brother Keehner's acceptance speech entitled “An ΣAE for Life”, Brother Bill Marckwardt (CA-TH ’76) presented Gary with a ΣAE watch traditionally handed down each year from the past year’s Brother of theYear.The evening came to a conclusion as we are accustomed to, with Brother Bob Battenfield (CA-TH ’61) leading us all in the singing of the songs of ΣAE.
With that another Founders Day is in the books. This is truly one of the great events we get to experience as brothers of ΣAE. The “vibe” was good all evening and the early part of the evening gave us a beautiful clear view of Mission Bay and beyond. The Bahia did a great job and the company couldn't have been better.We look forward to celebrating with you again next year on our 163rd anniversary. Phi Alpha!