We will prevail because we will not run from any battle. We will prevail because we are successful, patriotic, God fearing, conscientious Americans who contribute to society, who contribute to family, and who contribute to the betterment of our respective communities. We will succeed because of our abilities. We will succeed because of our spirit.
Donald C. McCleary
Gay and Lesbian Leadership Conference
March 5, 1995
The Chicago Society draws its name from the 46th Grand Chapter Conclave held in Chicago, Illinois in 1999. There, conclave voted to extend the 1959 decision to open membership to all races, religions, and creeds to include sexual orientation. In adding sexual orientation to SigEp’s non-discrimination clause in the Grand Chapter Bylaws, the Fraternity recommitted itself to building a more inclusive and diverse membership. On August 2nd, 2015, the SigEp National Board of Directors unanimously approved policy clarifying that any individual who identifies as a man is welcome to seek membership in the fraternity.
The 1999 Conclave ratified what many had recognized for decades: that gay men had volunteered and given of their time, talents and resources to effect positive change in Sigma Phi Epsilon. As AIDS ravaged the roles of Sigma Phi Epsilon throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, the acknowledgement was organizationally and personally significant.
The Chicago Society serves SigEp as a resource for GBTQ brothers, alumni, and volunteers. Through social events, fund raising, professional networking, community service, and mentorship, the Chicago Society seeks to create a sustainable network of GBTQ alumni, undergraduates, and volunteers to support each other and the mission of Sigma Phi Epsilon. Our mission is inspired by the challenge issued by Grand President McCleary in 1987:
Sigma Phi Epsilon was a leader in eliminating racial and religious discriminatory clauses in its membership requirements. Sigma Phi Epsilon should exhibit vision and courage in the areas of minority membership and leadership in its chapters. This fraternity must take an active role in appreciating the equality of all people.
The Chicago Society membership includes undergraduate brothers, SigEp alumni and volunteers on the local, regional, and national level, including current and past district governors, Board of Governors members, Headquarters staff, and Order of the Golden Heart recipients.
To accomplish our mission, we:
- Promote awareness and education;
- Fundraise for the educational foundation through the Donald C. McCleary Chicago Society Fund to support the efforts of Sigma Phi Epsilon;
- Work to exhibit vision and courage in promoting minority membership and leadership in SigEp chapters.