Eta Mu Chapter of Sigma Chi at Eastern Illinois - Scott Stevens ’76: A Lifelong Commitment to Sigma Chi and EIU

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Scott Stevens ’76: A Lifelong Commitment to Sigma Chi and EIU Scott Stevens ’76 had a unique start in Greek Life, having initially pledged a different fraternity. The way Scott tells it, after a couple weeks in, it just didn’t feel right. So come second semester of his freshman year, Scott found himself going through the rush process a second time.

“Both of my parents were involved in Greek Life in college, and I remembered my mom talked about the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi,” he explains. “So I went to a smoker there and felt very welcome. It was just a better fit!”

From those humble beginnings, Scott quickly found his footing. He moved into the tiny house on Ninth Street and even served as Pro Consul his sophomore year. That year turned out to be his most active year, as he became an RA his junior and senior years to help pay for school. However, there’s no denying the powerful impact Sigma Chi had on Scott.

“Reflecting back on the leadership experience I gained as Pro Consul, I know it was important for my development,” Scott explains. “At the time, you don’t realize it, but planning and executing events—whether philanthropic or social—is what employers look for.”

Beyond that, his Sigma Chi years represent a simpler time in life.

“We didn’t have TVs in our rooms or personal computers back then,” Scott says. “There was a greater sense of camaraderie. We’d go to the football and basketball games together. Greek games were much simpler, and for Greek Sing, we’d grab a case of beer and practice just two weeks before the event. Now-a-days, there’s much more choreography and work that goes into that event. Back then, we didn’t live in a digital age—we did more as a group.”

Today, Scott has found a way to keep EIU and Sigma Chi in his life.

After earning his MBA, he remained at the university, working as a resident hall counselor and teaching in the School of Business one night a week.

“One evening, a non-traditional student came in, handed me his business card, and said ‘Why don’t you get a real job?’” Scott recalls.

Taking the advice, he interviewed at the company, RR Donnelley, and began a 30-year career there. But he didn’t give up the teaching gig—he stayed on part-time, doing what he loved. Now, having retired in 2009, Scott teaches full-time at EIU.

“My kids are grown and gone, so one of the things I love about teaching is the young people,” he explains. “I’m responsible for the freshman division of the program and teach a few upper-level classes, so I get to see them come in as freshmen and progress throughout their four years here. It’s really humbling to see their maturity. I love being able to wake up, come to work, and influence my students’ lives in some positive way. I feel blessed to have this second career.”

As for his involvement with Sigma Chi, Scott actually serves as the chapter’s faculty advisor. In the last few years, he’s even been able to play a small role in initiation, a ceremony for which he now has greater appreciation.

“When you’re 18 or 19 and going through the initiation process, everything is a blur,” he says. “I don’t recall anything about it. You just want to get through it and be done. You don’t reflect on the meaning, beauty, or symbolism. Now, able to sit back and reflect on the ceremony years later, it’s totally different. I get a lot more out of it than I did back then, and I would encourage other alumni to come observe the event if they’re in the neighborhood. It takes on a whole new meaning and perspective. At 19, I didn’t have a clue.”

Outside of his teaching career and faculty advisor duties, Scott is a proud husband, father, and grandfather.

“I’ve been married to a gal I met at EIU for 37 years,” he says. “We have two children—one lives in California and has two children, and my other son lives in Chicago and has two children and one on the way. Their mother, who was a stay-at-home mom, did a wonderful job. They both have a good work ethic. Though it’d be nicer if we had more time together, I know they need to be in a location where they’re happy, healthy, and gainfully employed.”

Though Scott is closer with the active chapter than he is with fellow alumni—given his position as faculty advisor—he has the same hope for all Sigs.

“I feel very lucky to be teaching at EIU,” he says. “It never feels like work to me. I hope others have the same opportunity in their careers.”

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