“To promote the highest standards of friendship, scholarship, and service for our members based upon the ideals of set forth by our Founders and as enunciated in our creed.”
ΣΑΕ is North America’s largest social fraternity with more than 334,500+ initiated members since our founding in 1856.
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity has more than 240 chapters on college campuses throughout the United States, with nearly 14,000 collegiate members and 239,000+ living alumni. We are the first national fraternity to establish a Leadership School to educate our undergraduates and the first national fraternity to build a central headquarters building. Sigma Alpha Epsilon has initiated more than 334,500 men since badge sequences were first recorded.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon was founded March 9, 1856 at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Its eight founders included five seniors. Noble Leslie DeVotie, John Barratt Rudolph, Nathan Elams Cockrell, John Webb Kerr, and Wade Foster, and three juniors, Samuel Marion Dennis, Abner Edwin Patton and Thomas Chappell Cook. Their leader was DeVotie who had written the ritual, devised the grip and chosen the name. The badge was designed by Rudolph. Of all existing fraternities today, Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the only one founded in the antebellum South.
Founded in a time of growing and intense sectional feeling, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, although it determined at the outset to extend to other colleges, confined its growth to the southern states. Extension was vigorous, however, and by the end of 1857 the Fraternity counted seven chapters. Its first national convention met in the summer of 1858 at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, with four of its eight chapters in attendance. By the time of the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, fifteen chapters had been established.
The Fraternity had fewer than four hundred members when the Civil War began. Of those, 369 went to war for the Confederacy and seven fought with the Union forces. Every member of the chapters at Hampden-Sydney, Georgia Military Institute, Kentucky Military Institute and Oglethorpe University fought for the gray. Members from the Columbian College, William and Mary and Bethel (KY) were in both armies. Seventy members of the Fraternity lost their lives in the War, including Noble Leslie DeVotie, who is officially recorded in the annals of the War as the first man on either side to give his life.