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100 years of WSU Sigma Chi Consuls
They are the most elite among all the accomplished WSU Sigma Chis who have worn the White Cross. The Consuls, known to the outside world as presidents, are the chosen leaders among a group of self-governing young men living on their own for the first time. What could possibly go wrong?
Undergraduate and alumni brothers launched an exhaustive initiative to identify and list as many of our Beta Upsilon Consuls as we could. I you see errors, let us know. It entailed asking a lot of men to remember who got elected way back when. It also included looking for clues by digging through storage lockers and plastic storage bins to find rumpled scrapbooks. The idea arose from The Centennial Archive Project preparing Beta Upsilon history and memorabilia for permanent display in the library of the new chapter house that will be under construction beginning 2019 – our 100th year at WSU.
E.O. Holland, WSU's legendary president, was also largely responsible for bringing Sigma Chi to WSC at the time. Brother Holland oversaw the first chapter meeting in 1919. So we've listed him as an Honorary Consul.
Jim Sweeney, Consul in 1954, is our most senior Consul. Jim already donated to the Centennial Chapter House Campaign and says, “we now have the golden opportunity to realize that dream by building the new Centennial Chapter House in 2019.”
We’ve heard many more wonderful stories from Consuls and about Consuls. We’ve posted them here. And we await hearing your story too.
Bob McConnell lost his home to Harvey
but urging us on to build new Sig house
In 1961, I had just been successfully named house manager in 1961. It was a job I had my eye on for years and since it paid by room and board it meant I would have enough money to stay in school. At the same time, several of my brothers in the house were concerned about leadership for the next semester and they asked me to run for the Consul position. I said okay and withdrew from the house manager job. I spent the next semester using my leadership skills gained in AFROTC and my other paying job as Chief announcer on KWSU radio to effectively lead Sigma
Chi. I never regretted answering the call from my brothers to step up and provide leadership for our house.
Now, in 2018 just 57 years later I was asked to offer a few comments about the importance of supporting this current campaign. It's exciting to see so many brothers who are continuing to add contributions to the Centennial Chapter House Campaign. It's time for all brothers to stand with them and be counted. Sigma Chi needs your support now. You have a chance to insure that we can get enough cash on hand to help qualify us for the building loan. Giving more money now does two things:1) It helps qualifies us for the necessary loan ; 2) If we give more than $300,000 now we will end up with a lower future monthly loan payment. Take the plunge and donate before the end of July. You will feel great after giving financial support to Sigma Chi.
Bill Simpson, 1976 Consul:
New house is "for real!"
There have been a number of campaigns in the past but this one is special, has sustained itself, and has brought us to the point where it’s for real.
It has been impressive to experience the active chapter members exemplify the values of Sigma Chi without a formal house, as a foundation to true Brotherhood. They deserve to have the same experience that many of us had during our college days. It’s the new house that will galvanize Sigma Chi for creating a place to gather, a proud place to live, and for Brotherhood to continue to share the Sigma Creed, the Spirit of Sigma Chi and live the Jordan Standard under the same roof.
I became Consul in early ’76, second semester. After becoming a live-out with two Cougar baseball teammates, I moved back into the House to lead the Sigs. I was also the starting shortstop and leading the Cougar baseball team to the College World Series. Thanks to Sigma Chi (a pledge at the time) Gordy Jackson, who threw extra batting practice for me late in the PAC-8 season, I was able to help my team with a hot bat during one particular playoff run. We finished 5th in the nation and were considered by Coach Bobo Brayton as the best team in Cougar history. I was honored as a member of the best infield in 100 years and as one of Bobo’s Best in his 33 year Cougar coaching career.
I came back in the Fall of ’76 after a summer stint in professional baseball for the Grays Harbor Ports of the Northwest League and served the second part of my term as Consul. I completed my degree in Construction Management and graduated in the Spring of ‘77.
I was very proud of the rise of the Sigma Chi Fraternity in the Greek Community, on the WSU campus and in the community as a whole during my tenure. I was especially proud of all the relationships formed within the Brotherhood of Sigma Chi and of Cougar Nation as a whole.
Since graduation, I helped develop 160 food service operations for Westin Hotels, Red Robin International and Restaurants Unlimited during my 21 years in Seattle. Then I moved to Portland and worked for McCormick & Schmick Management Group. For the last 12 years, I have worked for general contractors in the Portland area, the last five with Western Construction Services in Vancouver, WA, building medical, retail, restaurant tenant improvements, and ground up buildings.
In my personal life, I was married to Delta Gamma Cindy Beddow (Brother Jeff Burnside introduced us) for 20 years. We have sons Bryce, 34, and Brad, 31. I’m now married to my second wife, Michelle, who is the love of my life and my best friend.
Jim Sweeney, Consul 54: A golden opportunity
Ever since my graduation, faithful members have pursued the dream of having a new chapter house, the movement waxing and waning. But the dream and our persistence have never died. Because of the superb efforts of Alumni and Actives alike, we now have the golden opportunity to realize that dream by building the new Centennial Chapter House in 2019 that will vitally assist in sustaining Beta Upsilon chapter and the high principles of Sigma Chi.
I was a Pullman boy living at home while attending WSC when my friend Bill Martin, a Sigma Chi, took me to the EX Chapter House for a visit and introduced me. I was taken by the brotherhood there and delighted to be pledged. Our pledge class changed the Initiation process from 'Hell Week' to 'Help Week' wherein we worked as volunteers on a city project. We had a full time housemother, Mrs. Endsrud, who helped provide a great family atmosphere and a healthy balance between our studies and social activities like firesides, parties, dress dinners, etc. In my senior year I was Consul, enjoying the opportunity to lead and to pin the Snow White Cross on the Sweetheart at the Sweetheart Dance.
Upon graduating in 1954 I was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the Army Military Police Corps through the ROTC program. I then was assigned to military security duty at the Presideo of San Francisco, for Atomic Bomb testing at Camp Desert Rock Nevada and for a year in Korea with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force. Upon separation I entered Law School at the University of Idaho, married my sweetheart, Jean Spencer, and upon graduating in 1961 began law practice in Polson, Montana. In 1963 I entered the Navy as a JAGC lawyer. Assignments included New York City, Newport RI, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and in 1968-69 on the Battleship, USS New Jersey, in the Vietnam War. In 1980 I retired in Alameda, CA and have engaged in proactive activities and volunteer work while enjoying retirement. (sweeneyopenspace park.org) I have two daughters and 6 grandchildren.
"I am so pleased that the new chapter house
is becoming a reality," says 1957 Consul Tom Vertrees
I am pleased that the new chapter house is becoming a reality. I fully remember how pleased we were to move into the new back portion of the house after living in the original old section.
I was commissioned as 2 Lt., U.S. Army at graduation, served two years at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO and six more in the local reserve unit. I taught eight years at Lincoln School in Pullman, spent three years at the American School in Tehran, Iran and twenty two years at Kennewick High School teaching Sciences, mostly Chemistry and Physics. Since my public school retirement, I have promoted lead paint abatement and worked as a lab tech in the local wine industry for several wineries.
I still live in Kennewick, WA and am active in Kennewick First Lutheran Church. I play music with the Columbia Basin Concert Band as one of the longest serving members and enjoy playing in a woodwind quintet that includes my oldest daughter.