Sigma Chi - Auburn University

Spring 2023 Newsletter

Gamma Sigma Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity at Auburn University

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2 THE AUBURN SIG W hen we make choices in life, we don't always realize how impactful they might be. Cecil Stokes Jr. '58 knows Sigma Chi was right for him, but in college it was a difficult decision between that and another bid rarely declined in those days. In the end, Cecil chose Sigma Chi because of the White Cross, its hometown reputation, and the warm welcome from brothers like Drew Ragan '56, Strick Newsom '55, and A.J. Grant '56. "My father had misgivings about my decision, but that was reversed decades later when he learned that Gamma Sigma was born from the local chapter he would have pledged had his father not opposed fraternities." Had Cecil not made that choice, he wouldn't have made some lasting friendships, nor would he have been Gamma Sigma's delegate for the Centennial Grand Chapter meeting in 1955. When new at work in north Alabama, he would not have met Ernie Eltz '57 for a drink, which ultimately led to meeting his wife, Shirley. And he never would have had a lasting impact on the chapter house that today's young brothers still enjoy. A HOME TO BE PROUD OF e chapter house was under construction when Cecil was a freshman. He joined A.J. Grant, an architecture student, in inspecting construction progress alongside alumni. As a senior, Cecil chaired the team that designed and contracted the parking lot that still serves brothers and guests today. Years later, he joined the campaign to rebuild the house, for a time leading design and contractor interface efforts. is was the result of an arm twist from Bob Benz '61, a friend since early freshman days, his Little Brother, and a deserving Constantine Sig. Cecil went on to serve 27 years on the house corporation board (including terms as secretary and vice president), through which he worked on even more house updates. Cecil has proudly supported Gamma Sigma's home to help with recruitment efforts as well as quality of life for members and their guests. "e house is not the dominant influence on the behavior of its members, but it is certainly not immaterial," he said. "A fraternity solely dependent on funding and leadership from undergraduates will be at a disadvantage to fraternities with solid alumni support." LEARNING BEYOND THE CLASSROOM Cecil graduated from Auburn with a degree in mechanical engineering and worked for iokol (now a part of Northrop-Grummon) in the aerospace and defense industry for decades, retiring at age 59 when his facility closed due to industry shrinkage. Most of his work focused on the development and production of solid- propellant rocket motors, which appear in the Patriot, Maverick, and Hellfire missiles that served American forces in the first Iraq war and later conflicts. Along the way, Cecil earned an MBA degree from Vanderbilt and went on to teach at Athens State University. Upon retiring, he moved on to volunteer work with the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and then to profitable part-time consulting work lasting still. One of Cecil's proudest experiences was as chairman of his church's campaign to build a new sanctuary and additional buildings, funded at several million dollars. He credits his success in leading that effort and working with skilled professionals to his work on Gamma Sigma's chapter house. "e education I received in classrooms and laboratories was valuable, but so was the time I spent dealing with fraternity construction and other issues." BROTHERS SUPPORT BROTHERS Cecil's postgrad Sigma Chi involvement began with regular visits back to campus and football games (home and away). He and Gamma Sigma brothers like Charles Darwin '57 connected with local brothers from several other chapters to form the Huntsville Alumni Chapter. e group enjoyed helping many chapters with recruitment and even helped start a chapter at what is now the University of North Alabama; this Eta Rho chapter recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. He now enjoys meeting with alumni of that chapter and other chapters as members of the North Alabama Alumni Chapter. Today, Cecil keeps an email list of brothers from his era, frequently sending news and Facebook updates about important events in one another's lives. "Unfortunately, much of that news is sad as we announce transitions to the Chapter Eternal—but it is part of our brotherly love." Cecil lives in Huntsville, Alabama, and can be reached at Choosing to Serve One Another WHAT BROTHERHOOD MEANS TO CECIL STOKES JR. '58 Tucker Brant '23 Management of Information Systems James Buckley '23 Major Christian Clark '23 Medicine Robert Smith Collins '23 Mechanical Engineering Aaron Crowder '23 email Science in Health Services Administration (working at Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham) Jackson Engel '23 Economics Grayson Fuller '23 Finance Anthony Iannone '23 Finance Ryan Litwin '23 Computer Science Arnav Mathur '23 Electrical Engineering Justin Peeples '23 Finance Patrick Priest '23 Building Science John Grantland Stone '23 Mechanical Engineering Bennett ompson '23 Building Science Connor Warren '23 Major Ellis Zhang '23 Medicine Congratulations, Graduating Seniors

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