The Sigma Phi Epsilon Texas Alpha Chapter at the University of Texas at Austin
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A Letter from visiting brother Bill Conkle

Dear Brothers,
 
I became a Sig Ep at Ohio Gamma, Ohio State University, in 1964. I stayed only one year because in 1965, I accepted an appointment to the US Naval Academy. Despite my short time as a undergraduate at a chapter, for over 50 years, I have been proud to be a Sig Ep.
 
In March, I left our home in Santa Monica to travel with my wife around the Southeast on a golfing holiday. We played in The Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. My wife flew back to Santa Monica from Houston and I continued the trip playing in Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma. I played a number of courses in the Austin area and arranged through the Club Corp Club Line to eat at the University of Texas Club on the campus of the University of Texas. When I arrived at the elevator to the Eight Floor, I saw signs for a Sig Ep function on the Seventh Floor, I decided to visit your function before I ate dinner.
 
I arrived at your function, introduced myself to the officers of the chapter and received the warmest greeting. I enjoyed chatting with some brothers and graduates. There was even a fellow Naval Academy graduate among you.
 
Your brothers and graduates chatted about a wide range of subjects. The most important may have been the fall of the football program at Texas from prominence and my hope that it can be redeemed and return to the level where one finds the Buckeyes and the Crimson Tide.
 
I want to thank all your brothers and graduates who welcomed me and tell all of them themy wife and I are always happy to meet graduates of service academies and Sig Eps, whether it is here in Santa Monica or anywhere in the world.
 
Bill Conkle Ohio Gamma, Class of 1968
U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1969
UCLA School of Law Class of 1977
 
Very truly yours,
 
William C. Conkle

Update June 2018

Dear Everyone,

I have been meaning to write to all of you over the last few weeks given the national developments in the university Greek community. In the past year, we have seen fraternity freshmen deaths at Penn State, Florida State, LSU, and Texas A&M, all or most related to alcohol or drug use. The national media is correctly asking the question whether fraternities need to exist any longer. The term “frat” and any references to fraternities comes with national negative connotations. These events hit Texas also. As of yesterday, the ΣAE national chapter pulled the charter of UT’s chapter. As a parent of an active member of Texas Alpha, I am concerned. I know you are, too.

As we come into this weekend with all of the parent events, I thought it was imperative that I write to you. Those of us who regularly work with the active chapter understand that we are attempting to minimize the occurrence of something bad happening. We are dealing with 200 young men at a competitive school in an alcohol-centric social environment. The chances of something happening are not insignificant. We talk to the young men about this all the time. What I want to impart to you is that these young men, for the most part, listen. They care about their own well-being and the well-being of their fraternity brothers. While the men of the chapter are keenly focused on their academic and social prowess, I believe they understand the responsibility that goes along with living at Texas Alpha.

As I’m sure it is with the entire chapter, our officers are some of the finest young men I’ve ever met and they take their responsibility for the safety of the chapter very seriously. For those who don’t know me, you should know that I am not an excuse-maker or an apologist for the chapter. If the chapter fails, they hear from us in loud, clear terms. I am not attempting to give you a false sense of our particular situation at Texas Alpha. I’m trying to do the opposite. You, as parents, have given us intelligent, well- rounded, ambitious young men. As a result, they readily accept the challenges (and the benefits) of life at Texas Alpha. We, and the officers, continually emphasize individual and group responsibility, academic excellence, and responsible social behavior. Do they still get a little crazy on the weekends? Perhaps. But I firmly believe that in the back of their minds they don’t forget that responsibility to themselves and to their brothers.

Many discussions over the last year have centered on how to better inform the public about the positive side of fraternities. Given today’s environment, that attempt may very well fall on deaf ears. What we tell the boys is similar to what we learned long ago: prove your value and worth through your actions, not your words. Be the best you can be while you’re here. If others accept you for who you are, fine. If not, you’ve done what you can. I encourage you all to talk with your sons about the national events and how they perceive their life in contrast to the tragedies we continue to hear about. I think you will be encouraged.

Thanks, Lynn

Please know that, as alumni volunteers, we take our duties as stewards of our chapter seriously. In closing, please come by and see us during football season, send us your legacy information, and send any news or contact information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thanks and HFF!

Lynn Butler ’88

AVC President

Texas Alpha Remains Top Sigep Chapter

The start of the fall semester is upon us in all of its glory. The house is busy with 50 shiny new faces alongside a whopping 50 seniors, our largest senior class probably ever. Upperclassman retention is a perineal test of the health of any chapter. As one of the largest SigEp chapters in the nation, we excel with retaining our men better than any other chapter. That speaks volumes to the brotherhood, friendship and experiences our men have during their time at the Forty Acres. 

Collegiate Brothers Thrive Academically 

Officially, UT had us with 186 members last spring. The cumulative GPA was 3.353—that’s a lot of smart young men. We have found that they demand excellence from themselves in academics. The men had great summers with internships, trips abroad, and jobs at home. Recruitment finished with young men joining Texas Alpha from all the major schools in Texas, as well as Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and D.C. A typically fine class with a good number of legacies—keep sending us your sons! 

Texas Alpha Benefits from Alumni Support 

This summer, nine actives and five alumni went to Orlando, Fla., for the National Chapter’s Conclave. Once again, Texas Alpha brought home a Buchanan Cup in recognition of being one of the best chapters in the nation. Part of going to Conclave and the regional Carlson Academy is to expose the active members to leadership training, as well as getting to know SigEps from other chapters. Your donations and membership to the Skull & Crossbones Society make these trips possible. The chapter has no debt and no need for a capital campaign but does need your support to continue these leadership opportunities. Any assistance is greatly appreciated. I’ve seen firsthand the benefits that brothers get from these trips. It’s worth the investment. 

A Message to Texas Alpha Parents

 This fall, we are going to stress to active brothers the need to respect the chapter house not only as a place for fellowship but also as their home away from home. They’ll be hearing it from the officers and the local alumni board. Any encouragement you can give on your end will be greatly appreciated. We were able to replace the sound system in the pavilion and clean all the air ducts. We are looking for ways to improve the experience at 2500 Pearl, so suggestions are welcome. Finally, come stop by and visit when you’re in town, whether you’re an alumnus or a parent. We are proud of what Texas Alpha stands for and the men it produces. You will be, too!

HFF,
Lynn Butler ’88
AVC President

Founders' Day Info

Founders' Day will be taking part April 21-22. We'll Be honoring Roger Chapman '49, Tom Hicks '68, and Bruce Anderson '71.

A brief schedule of the weeken is as follows: 

Friday - Open

Saturday Morning - SigEp Golf Tournament

Contact Doug Jones ’05 to sign up at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or

(512) 924-5570.

Saturday Evening

Cocktails 6-7 p.m.

Dinner 7-9 p.m.

RSVP to Jim Strickland: (512) 797-3643 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alumnus Offers $10,000 Match for John Tyler Balanced Man Scholarship

FOUNDERS’ DAY HIGHLIGHTS

Once again, Founders’ Day 2014 found alumni and actives coming together to celebrate with a casual gathering at the Terrace at 8th and Congress. All enjoyed the cool evening and the awesome sunset views overlooking the Texas Capital and UT Tower. After a casual dinner and drinks, Carlos De Ayala ’83 kicked off the evening’s agenda with a welcome and a shoutout to son Christopher ’17 followed by a short update by Chapter President Maclean Martin ’15.

Maclean, joined by executive council members and another dozen actives, thanked alumni for their ongoing support and reported that the active chapter is as strong as ever. Manpower levels remain at near 200 men, having invited 53 new members over the summer. The chapter holds an overall 3.2+ GPA, which is among the highest at UT, while remaining active in campus leadership, socials, intramurals, and philanthropy.

Lynn Butler ’88, AVC president, followed with a quick update and recognized Jerry Smith ’79, Bo Brackendorff ’75, Mark Kiester ’71, Gary Griffith ’69, Mark Johnson ’82, Steve Levatino ’88, Roger Chapman ’49, and Jim Strickland ’78 among many other brothers.

The new John Tyler Balanced Man Award and Scholarship, formed in honor of John Tyler ’63 and his long history of service to Texas Alpha at both the local and national levels, was presented to Dean Butler ’15. Dean is an engineering major and most recently served as chapter vice president. Led by Dick Vermillion ’67, a small circle of contributors quickly funded the scholarship (endowment at $35,000) recognizing a SigEp senior with a $1,500 annual award.

The third recipient of the Buffkin-Felker Brotherhood Award and $1,000 scholarship was Joey Reynolds ’16. He was recognized by his brothers for his record of service and leadership and carries a 3.4 GPA while majoring in corporate finance. Joey has represented the chapter as an IFC officer, a Reading Aces mentor, and golf tournament organizer supporting Boys and Girls Clubs.

It can’t be said enough—many thanks to Doug Jones ’05 for organizing another great social gathering and reunion.

SUPPORT A TEXAS ALPHA SCHOLARSHIP

Each scholarship is independently funded and accepts directed contributions at any level. Recipients are identified by the active chapter for their leadership, brotherhood, and service and approved by the education foundation with a preference for financial need. Dick Vermillion is currently offering an additional $10,000 in matching funds for contributions to the John Tyler Balanced Man scholarship. If you would like to take advantage of this opportunity, please send your gift to SPE Education Foundation of TXA, P.O. Box 22025, Houston, TX 77227-2025.

The Skull & Crossbones Society supports the Texas Alpha Education Foundation, which, in turn, supports the costs of the active chapter leadership training and the Texas Alpha endowment.

The foundation is pleased to recognize and thank Steven Covey ’73 as a charter lifetime member of the Skull & Crossbones Society with his recent $10,000 contribution. Lifetime memberships to the society begin at the $5,000 donation level. Annual dues are $240 and include two complimentary passes to Founders’ Day.

HFF,

Carlos A. De Ayala '83
Education Foundation President

Texas Alpha Alumni Organizations and Officers

  • Education Foundation
  • Housing Corp
  • Alumni Volunteer Council

SPE Education Foundation of TXA

Carlos De Ayala President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Bo Brackendorff Treasurer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Greg Barra Secretary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Texas Alpha Housing Corp

Jerry Smith President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Trent Watkins Vice President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Craig Casselberry Secretary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Texas Alpha Alumni Volunteer Council

Lynn Butler President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jeff Loomis Treasurer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Joey Leak Chapter Counselor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.