Eta Mu Chapter of Sigma Chi at Eastern Illinois - Richard Fish ’85: How Sigma Chi Shaped His Future

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We are now witnessing our kids going off to college in pursuit of even a small piece of many special memories that we were all lucky enough to create and share with our kids.

Q: How did being in the fraternity contribute to your life today?

A: Pledging Sigma Chi was a momentous event in my life. While I was interested to be a part of something and a group of good guys, I quickly figured out that Sigma Chi had so much more to offer me and my pledge brothers. I lost my father when I was seven and didn't have enough male mentoring in my life. I feel like Sigma Chi brought life lessons, a moral foundation, and standards (pun intended) to live by. As graduation came and went, I constantly found myself reflecting back to many lessons and experiences gained through my time with Sigma Chi. 

Q: Why are you proud to be a member of Sigma Chi?
A: Sigma Chi has a proud national presence around the country and is loaded with many great guys with different temperaments, talents, and convictions. It has been fun to witness how the families and careers of my many fraternity brothers have progressed through the years. We are now witnessing our kids going off to college in pursuit of even a small piece of many special memories that we were all lucky enough to create and share with our kids. 

Q: Where was the best hangout on or nearby campus during your school days? Is it still around or the same today? 
A: We went to IKE’s and Mothers (Mom’s) mostly. When I was in school we were located at the Red Barn on 9th Street—which is now a parking lot I’m told. We definitely spent a bunch of time at the house playing wiffle ball, ice hockey (yes—we flooded the yard,) or just watching this new program called MTV!

Q: Why do you give back to Eta Mu Chapter?
A: I give back to support the fund for a new house for the chapter, and to support their efforts to qualify for the various chapter awards and leadership training programs. 

Q: Are you still in touch with many brothers?
A: I definitely keep up with a number of my fraternity brothers on a regular basis. In the year 2000, we moved our family to Southern CA and we have done our best to continue to reach out. With the various social media tools, staying connected has proven to be a bit easier so the volume of connections and regular conversations has actually increased in the recent years. Some of my very best relationships to this day started with Sigma Chi Eta Mu. 

Q: If you could go back to re-live any single moment from your Sigma Chi days, what would it be and why?
A: The day we won the University Intramural Swim Meet was a very funny and fun experience. I used to dive in high school and somehow the President of the fraternity (Steve Michaels ’85) caught wind of this. He pressured me to help with the cause. I had to blow the dust off of several years of diving skills in order to even have a chance to help the team. As fate had it, we needed me to win the diving competition for us to prevail. I remember laughing at the mere prospect that the entire competition rested on my shoulders. Remember—I hadn’t competed since my freshman year in high school! I stuck to very simple tricks and good form—and we kicked their ass!! 

Q: What did Sigma Chi teach you about leadership?
A: Leadership is more about service and genuinely caring for others than being able to get in front of a crowd and speak. I was able to witness many aspects of leadership during my time on campus and after graduation as well. Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way!

Q: What’s new in your life today? Tell me a little bit about your family and how you spend your free time.
A: We moved our family to southern CA back in 2000 and haven’t looked back since. I own and operate a small group of Collision Repair Centers all named Fix Auto (Oceanside, San Clemente, Tustin, Long Beach, Signal Hill). We bought our first location in 2005 and have gone on grow the company to over $20 million in annual revenue and about 100 employees.

My wife (Caley Cunningham Fish) of 27 years also attended EIU and was a Delta Zeta. We met on campus, and after dating for about six years, we were married in 1989. We have three daughters. Lauren is 23 years old and is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder Business School, and is currently living and working in Denver. Our middle daughter, Allison, is 20 and currently a sophomore at the same school that her older sister attended. We enjoy visiting with them both in Colorado and usually make time to hike and ski when we are there. Our youngest daughter, Caroline, is currently a junior in high school. Time will tell where she chooses to attend college.

We get back to the Chicagoland area at least once a year to visit friends and family, usually in the summer as we will attend Lollapalooza with our kids. I just recently invested in another collision business in Countryside, IL (Fix Auto Countryside) and therefore will be visiting a bit more going forward. 

Want to get in touch with Richard? You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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