When Eric Bolstad jumped into the creek during a Triad party as an undergrad, he had no idea what lurked out of sight.
He couldn't see the stump waiting beneath the surface that broke his neck.
Also not within his sight? The long, painful road to win back his life - a victory he now credits to Sigma Chi and his brothers.
He struggled to tell his very personal story during an unexpected speech at the 2017 reunion before an astonished and tearful crowd. He said he owes his life to Sigs who helped him in the hospital, helped him wheelchair through college, and helped him in business. Indeed, Eric owns Absolute Mortgage and has employed other Sigs. He told everyone that he will never have a family to support or to name in his will.
Then he shocked everyone.
On the spot, Eric donated $50,000 to the WSU Sigma Chi Centennial Chapter House Campaign and challenged everyone listening to match it.
They did. And more.
Within minutes, the reunion crowd of about 100 people ponied up $83,000, 170% of what Eric challenged them to give.
Later, it got even more amazing.
In October 2018, Eric decided to donate another $50,000 and join with brother Erik Morgan who also donated another $50,000. Together, they launched "The $100,000 Challenge Match" vowing to give one dollar for every new dollar donated by other Sigs. It was wildly successful.
Recently, the Executive Committee voted to name the new chapter room "The Eric Bolstad Chapter Room." Eric reacted with immense gratitude and said "I've tried to live my whole life using the teachings of the Jordan Standard that was such a part of that old chapter room."
Eric, we're honored to name it after you.
The message here is that Sigma Chi is a powerful, valuable intangible that others don't always understand. The Sigma Chi experience has shaped all our lives in myriad ways we don't often see. Our people skills, ambitions, strengths, intellects and institutional respect is all manifest in each of us and enhanced by Sigma Chi and the brothers we share it with.
Remember when we told pledges that Sigma Chi membership is not just four years of college. It's much grander than that. It makes men better.
Yes, of course this is a straightforward plea for your donations. Without a doubt. Unabashedly. Eric Bolstad and scores of others have stepped up for the same intangible that lies out of sight inside of you.