Eta Mu Chapter of Sigma Chi at Eastern Illinois - Rick Hengehold '89 Pays it Forward

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Why He’s Committed to Preserving Eta Mu’s Legacy for Future Generations

Rick Hengehold '89 Pays it Forward
Rick and his family

Pledging Sigma Chi was an easy choice for Rick Hengehold ’89 as a young student at EIU thanks to its great reputation. It was known around campus as one of the best houses to join, and Rick shared many of the same interests in music and sports with the brothers.

Having to pay his own way through school, Rick often found himself in a bind, financially. Hard decisions had to be made, and sometimes that included his dues. That’s part of the reason he gives back to the chapter today when he can.

“To be honest, I wasn’t always caught up on my monthly dues when I was active,” he admits. “I paid for school myself and the costs associated with membership at the fraternity had to take a back seat sometimes. I donate as much as possible to make up for that fact now.”

I’ve built strong business relationships, have had the opportunity to give back through volunteerism, and made several good friends all because I am a Sigma Chi.

Today, he’s grateful for the opportunity to support his fellow brothers in ways he wasn’t able to do as a student.

“Sigma Chi offers guys an opportunity to build lasting relationships and experience what it means to have a group of individuals you know you can count on wherever you are,” he says.

For Rick, the relationships and experiences he had have been instrumental in his life. From lifelong friendships to business connections, Sigma Chi will always remain an integral part of Rick’s success.

“I obtained many values and traits that are still important to me today,” he says. “Confidence, respect for others, and a willingness to learn were—and still are—fostered because of my membership in Sigma Chi. I’ve built strong business relationships, have had the opportunity to give back through volunteerism, and made several good friends all because I am a Sigma Chi. It’s the immediate connection you have when you learn that a guy you’ve just met is a Sig, regardless of the year he graduated!”

But, perhaps most valuable are the friendships created through Sigma Chi.

“The thing that I value the most is the connections that I made at Eta Mu and through other Sigs,” he says. “The guys in my pledge class were pretty tight, and I still maintain contact with many of them.”

Those brothers include Paul Hinck, Greg Planck, Bill Maher, Don Borschel, Tim Doyle, Ken Phalen, Sam Van Scoyoc, Mitch Newman, Jim Enright, and Dan Jackson.

“I’m sure I’m missing a few others,” he admits, laughing.

When they reconnect, whether in person or through social media, the memories always come flooding back.

“Derby Days and Greek Week were always a ton of fun,” Rick recalls. “Initiation Week still stands out the most, though!”

Today, Rick lives and works in the St. Louis Metro Area with his wife, Donya, and their two children, Will and Kate. He has spent most of his professional career in commercial banking for regional and super-regional banks, as well as information technology and small business ownership. In 2010, Rick earned his Master of Science in Management Information Systems from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Rick’s son, Will, is entering his senior year of high school this fall, and Rick is hopeful that he will follow in his footsteps.

“I’ll never forget becoming an active member,” he stresses. “I intend for my son to do the same in 2019.

For now, though, Rick plans to continue supporting Sigma Chi as best as he can, and hopes his fellow Brothers will join him.

“I encourage the guys from Eta Mu to support our chapter, their local Alumni Chapter, and National to make sure that Sigma Chi continues to offer the same experience we benefitted from to the next generation,” he says. “What our Founders believed in the late 19th Century was important then—and is even more important today!”

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