Yesterday, the Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) fraternity honored twelve freshmen who have displayed excellence through high school. The winners all upheld four pillars of excellence: scholarship, athletics, service and leadership.
“It is our belief that without any one of these four pillars, a student is not a true balanced man. All four characteristics are equally important,” said Jonathan Harsch ’05, the Balanced Man Scholarship chair.
The fraternity established the award eleven years ago. It is “meant to counteract negative stereotypes [by] recognizing young student leadership…it promotes growth and responsibility in the fraternity movement,” said Judge David Roman ’73, president of SigEp’s alumni board.
Applications were sent to all freshmen males. Of the hundreds of responses received, 36 were selected for the second round which included an interview. Finally, 12 were selected as finalists. The decisions were made by brothers on the scholarship review committee.
The awards were presented in the Memorial Room of the Straight during a banquet luncheon yesterday. Brothers of the fraternity, the honorees and their families were all invited.
The event opened with a welcome speech by Graham Schell ’04, president of SigEp. Other speakers included Roman who spoke about the balanced man ideal as part of SigEp’s success and their belief in recognizing excellence. Jeff Keltner, a SigEp alum at Stanford and regional director, spoke about the important role of balanced excellence in fraternities.
Harsch then presented the awards. The scholarship is “[our way] of integrating our ideals at SigEp and presenting it to the freshmen class,” Harsch said.
First place winner, Patrick McDonough ’06, received a $1,000 scholarship. “I’m really honored because at Cornell, there’s tons of guys who excel at everything,” McDonough said.
Scholarships of $500 were awarded to second place winners, Jordan Terner ’06 and John Bazzo ’06. “I’m really excited; it shows that how hard I worked pays off,” Bazzo said.
The three third place winners, Daniel Smith ’06, Jonathan Simms ’06 and Evan Crandall ’06 each received $200.
Brian Warshay ’06, Daniel Desmond ’06, Michael Gaspar ’06, Zack Newton ’06, Richard Griffith ’06 and Alex Meister ’06 were awarded $100 each for honorable mention. The scholarship money all comes from an endowed fund from the alumni board.
Third place winner Simms first attended a public high school before transferring to a private school and then finally enrolling at Cornell this fall. He noted how the number of “great leaders” increased with each transition, making this scholarship even more of an honor.
Winners are not obligated to join SigEp or become a member of the Greek System at all. However, “some past winners have joined the house, and they’re definitely the type of student we want. [The scholarship] goes along with the overall ideal of the Greek system,” said Jason Conn ’03, president of the Interfraternity Council and former president of SigEp.
Archived article by Diana Lo