Eta Mu Chapter of Sigma Chi at Eastern Illinois - Alumni Spotlight: Chris Dwyer ’97

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What Sigma Chi Means to Him and How It Made a Tremendous Impact in His Life

Alumni Spotlight: Chris Dwyer ’97
Chris with his beautiful family

As a wrestler at EIU, much of Chris Dwyer’s time was spent competing. Although he didn’t join a fraternity right away, the possibility of becoming a brother was always there, especially Sigma Chi.

“There were a couple of brothers I had wrestled with that were Sigs,” Chris explains. “I also had a few friends that were already Sigs.”

Having already formed friendships with these men, it made the decision to join Sigma Chi an easy one.

“I pledged in the fall of 1994 as part of the Beta Delta pledge class,” he recalls. “That gave me a chance to meet a lot of other members, and I really liked and was impressed by everyone. I went active in spring of 1995.”

Even though he joined Sigma Chi as a junior, Chris quickly became part of the tight brotherhood. Whether it was participating in intramurals, pledging, or partying, Chris has plenty of special memories of his undergrad years as a Sig. But one moment truly stands out to him, demonstrating the tremendous support the brotherhood offered.

“One time, I competed in an MMA tournament in the gymnasium,” Chris recalls. “I think 90 percent of my brothers showed up to support me. They were basically in a circle around the mat as we were fighting. It’s crazy to look back and think that the school actually let that happen! All of the support was awesome. I’ll never forget that.”

If he had one regret, though, it would be his limited time living in the house.

“Unfortunately, I lived in the house as a graduate assistant,” he says. “I was gone most of the time, as I was basically working a full-time job as a teacher during the days and then attended classes in the evenings. That didn’t provide me a lot of time to get involved with things at the house. I wish I had done it as an undergraduate so that I could have really experienced what life was like there.”

Learning to work with and lead others is something you get from Sigma Chi that you won’t likely get from just doing coursework. In fact, I’d say that learning to work within a group for a bigger cause has been far more valuable for me in my career than any of my actual schoolwork.

As short as his time as a Sig was, it did leave a major imprint on the course of Chris’ life. There are so many lifelong lessons that he only recently realized Sigma Chi was teaching him.

“I think that being part of something that is much bigger than you is great preparation for the real world,” he says. “This is something that I learned as a Sig, although I’m not sure I recognized it until much later in life. For example, when you go to work as part of a company or organization, you realize that you cannot be successful on your own. Your success depends upon your ability to work with and lead others to be their best.”

Although his academic studies certainly prepared him for his future, Chris credits a tremendous amount of his success on the fraternity.

“Learning to work with and lead others is something you get from Sigma Chi that you won’t likely get from just doing coursework," he says. "In fact, I’d say that learning to work within a group for a bigger cause has been far more valuable for me in my career than any of my actual schoolwork.”

Chris remains close to one brother, Brett Hepner ’96, who is now part of both his Sig family and the Dwyer family, given the fact that he became his brother-in-law. With the exception of Brett, Chris doesn’t see or talk to his other brothers as much as he would like.

“I communicate mostly through social media at this point,” he admits. “Otherwise, I see people every once in a while. Others have done a much better job at this than I have.”

Today, Chris has found success as the Vice President of Sales at Collegis Professional, a start-up corporate learning solutions company. He lives in Plainfield, IL with his wife, Erin, and their three children, ages 15, 13, and 9. As family, they are very sports and fitness-oriented and love to vacation on the beach.

Chris is a firm believer in giving back, including donating to the chapter—something he feels is the least he can do to thank Sigma Chi for all it has given him. Older and wiser, Chris now hopes that the current brothers heed the following advice.

“I would like to tell every active brother now to make the most of their experience,” he says. “You get out of it what you put in and time really flies. Make the most of each day.”

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