Eta Mu Chapter of Sigma Chi at Eastern Illinois - Scott Jackson ’86: “I was 51 years old and ordering a college fraternity ring”

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Q: Why did you join Eta Mu in the first place?
A: My sister was an Alpha Gam.  So, on several visits to Eastern while still in high school, I met a number of the Sigma Chis and experienced the “Old Red Barn”.  I was hooked.  Having met the caliber of guys I had, Sigma Chi was the only fraternity I visited and I pledged first semester freshman year.

Q: What’s your favorite memory from the chapter?
A: I have many amazing memories from the Eta Mu chapter.  First and foremost is the greatest inspiration week and initiation I could possibly imagine.  There are still key moments of the experience that are so vivid and meaningful to me.  I will never forget them.  Thanks to all of you who had gone before me for creating such a rich experience.  My other memories are all based around the “Old Red Barn”.  What a mess, but what a great place all at the same time.

Q: Do you still keep in touch with any of your brothers? Who?
A: It gets hard to keep in touch as everyone spreads out around the country.  That’s why I love getting your e-mails to catch up with what’s happening.  I do still keep in touch with Jim Haut, one of my pledge brothers.  I also see Ryan Shone at family gatherings, since he married one of my wife’s cousins.  One of my son’s best friends is a Sigma Chi from Valparaiso University.  He recently got married and I loved meeting about 30 new Sigma Chi brothers.  We got to sing the “Sweetheart Song”.  I was surprised how much of it came back to me, but kneeling at the end is harder than it used to be!

Q: Tell us about your career.
A: My degree from Eastern was in Technology Education.  I taught for nine years in three different schools.  Then, as the Internet and technology access in school grew, I became the Technology Director in Salt Creek School District.  While doing that, I earned by Master’s in Educational Administration.  Now, since 1998, I have been the Principal of Albright Middle School in District 48, serving the communities of Villa Park, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace and a small part of Elmhurst, Illinois.  I am scheduled to retire at the end of the 2019 school year, when I will start a new life all over again.

Q: How did your time in Eta Mu help to prepare you for that role?
A: I help to develop young people into men and women every day.  I have students in my school for four years (5th - 8th grade).  I truly believe that Sigma Chi prepared me to understand what it means to be a person of good character and a student of fair ability while having ambitious purposes, a congenial disposition, good morals, a sense of honor and a deep sense of personal responsibility.  I teach these very same lessons to my students as often as possible. 

Q: Tell us about your family and hobbies.
A: I am so lucky to have married my high school sweetheart and first love, Jody.  We will be celebrating our 30th anniversary this coming June.  After being married for three years we were blessed to two awesome sons—Brian, who is 25, and Brad, who is 22.  Brian attended Concordia University Wisconsin where he played basketball and graduated with a Business degree.  Having fallen in love with the area just north of Milwaukee and a young lady from Door County, he has remained in Wisconsin and is now working in sales for US Foods in the suburbs north of Milwaukee.  Brad also attended Concordia University Wisconsin and graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice and Public Policy.  He is now looking for a job as a Police Officer in the Chicago area suburbs.

Q: What advice would you give to future Eta Mu members?
A: Truly enjoy and absorb the Sigma Chi experience to its fullest extent.  By that I mean, you should enjoy the social aspects of the Eta Mu Chapter.  Enjoy the brotherhood of intramural sports, Derby Days, Tug-of-War and chapter meetings.  But, most importantly, absorb the true meaning of Sigma Chi.  My pledging experience and my initiation into Sigma Chi really did change my life.  Not a day goes by that I don’t repeat the Jordan Standards or the Charge in my head.  I have shared things like “The Man in the Glass” or “Let George Do It” a countless number of times with my staff and students who need a new perspective on things.  I have been very fortunate and could not have asked for more out of life.  I truly believe that is because “I AM” a Sigma Chi.

Let me end by telling you a quick story.  Upon my graduation from EIU I purchased a Sigma Chi ring.  I wore it almost every day as a constant reminder to me about what I am representing and how I wanted to live my life. 

About four years ago, I left it at home one Saturday night when I went to Benedictine University for one of my son’s basketball games.  Upon returning home, we found that our home had been burglarized.  As we surveyed the damage and inventoried our losses, I noticed that my Sigma Chi ring and pin were gone.  Upon noticing that, my wife said to me, “You asked me to bury you with both of those on.”  I had forgotten I had said that, but her mentioning that reminded me that I had indeed made that request.  Well, I decided at the time that maybe I should just let it go. That was college, it was 28 years ago and we had more important things that had to be replaced.  For the next 12 to 14 months I missed that ring every day. I realized how important it was to me.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  So, I finally ordered another one.  I was 51 years old and ordering a college fraternity ring.  This was the best decision I ever made, besides asking my wife to marry me.  I am now, once again, proudly wearing it every day and love it.

In Hoc,
Scott Jackson, Eta Mu Class of 1986

 

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