Brothers of Sigma Pi,
On March 16th 2012 I will be retiring from the Executive Director position of Sigma Pi Fraternity, International.
When these announcements are made the very first question that people ask is “why” and usually they try to fill in the blank with their opinion or assumption. The answer is quite simple “it’s the right time to do it.” It’s a positive change for me and my family and also for the fraternity. I never expected when I accepted the position in March of 1997 that I would be in this role for 15 years. That wasn’t my original plan but the joy of working with such great people in our Executive Office and making thousands of lifelong friendships through our brotherhood is quite inspiring and rewarding.
I’m very proud of how our fraternity has progressed in the past decade and half and especially in the manner of how that progress was made. It was accomplished as a fellowship of kindred minds, brothers working with brothers to make sure we left the fraternity in a better place than when we joined. No one man more important than another but finding our strength in the unity of us all. That, my brothers is truly “fraternity”.
I would like to thank our Grand Council officers both past and present for their leadership, guidance and inspiration. Our present Grand Council is comprised of men that will continue our progress and I’m fully supportive of all their efforts as we continue to move forward.
Thank you to the wonderful staff members of the Executive Office that have served during this period.
I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with over 80 young men that have traveled for the fraternity. All of you made a difference in our organization and contributed a few years of your life to keep us moving forward. A special thanks to the “ladies” of Sigma Pi that work in our office and work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure that our operations run smoothly. You are one of our most valuable assets and deeply appreciated.
Sigma Pi could simply not operate without the assistance of our volunteers and donors. Men that believe so strongly about their fraternal experience that they have a burning desire to give back to the organization that gave so much to them. Your time, talent and skills are such an integral part of this organization and I think I speak for every Sigma Pi when I say “Thank you”.
And now to our undergraduates. I’m often asked about this generation and my opinion in regard to their values. My answer is quite consistent. This generation is fine…very fine and don’t worry about them as they truly are “ A new generation of leaders”. They are the most philanthropic generation we have seen and truly caring about others. They have embraced diversity as only some of us could have imagined years ago. They have a wonderful set of priorities and the persistence to make their dreams come true.
The joy of being a Grand Council member, staff member or volunteer is working with our young men of the fraternity and being inspired by their progress as they perpetuate our fraternity. There is a reason we invest our resources in our undergraduates….they’re worth it. On a lighter note, I will confess that it has led to more than one gray hair on my head but I can never say that my job was boring.
It would have been nice to be able to take the time to mention each individual that has made such an impact but there are so many that I could never recall every one of them and or give them the proper recognition they deserve. I say this with one exception. My beautiful and loving wife Gail. In 1997 we were living in Atlanta and progressing along our life plan. She had the house of her dreams along with a job she thoroughly enjoyed. When this job opportunity came along she knew how much it meant to me and never even hesitated. You should “go for it” if it means that much to you. She has shared me with Sigma Pi to a higher degree than most wives would tolerate and with our wedding anniversary being on July 25th most of the time I was at a fraternity function rather than an anniversary dinner. She has never complained as she loves Sigma Pi as well. This year will mark our 25th wedding anniversary and I’m planning for one heck of a dinner.
And now for the future. I’m truly excited to see the direction we are going and the momentum we have behind us. While there will always be things we will be working on to improve it is important to reflect on all that we have accomplished and use that as a springboard to do even more. We have financial security and a strong base of chapters and volunteers and new and exciting philanthropic opportunities that will have a positive impact on many lives. A new person will fill the role as the seventh Executive Director of our fraternity and we (all of us ) will support him in every way possible way to insure his success.
Brothers, thank you for the brotherhood and lifelong friendships that I will always cherish. The opportunity to represent Sigma Pi and my brothers is an honor that is truly one that I cannot put into words. I look forward to joining the ranks of our esteemed volunteers and helping wherever I can.
And in closing, just two words.
Mark S. Briscoe HGS