During college, I well remember that we had to study for 4 1/2 hours per night (Sunday – Thursday) throughout my entire Freshman year of college even after we had been initiated. Those were the rules. Of course, scholarship was one of the traits that was a signature characteristic of one of the founders of Sigma Chi.
I have also learned in life that some traits are learned through example and not merely by words. Of course, this whole concept conveys an important part of the meaning of the White Cross. During three consecutive Delta Tau pledge classes graduating from college, there was at least one minister in each of those classes. In my own class, there was one who graduated from Westminster and another pledge brother, who had earlier transferred to another school, who wind up graduating from the U of Wisconsin, where he served as the chapter president.
Personally, I found our chapter at Delta Tau to be a great place to simply spread my wings a bit and get some experience in life. It was a wonderful beginning point in our lives as young adults, where we all learned from one another and we all learned the value of our Sigma Chi experience. We had fun together, we laughed, we played cards, we shot our rifles in the woods, we dated our sweethearts of long ago and, “yes,” we studied hard too and some of us succeeded greatly – – even on a global stage in the business and financial community.
I also remember that two consecutive Chapter Treasurers from the Delta Tau Chapter wind up serving as high-ranking officers of NYSE Companies. James Hance (Westminster College, Class of 1966, who was initiated in 1963), who ultimately served as the Vice Chairman and former CFO of Bank America, today serves as a Senior Advisor to the Carlyle Group, where his current duties relate to leveraged buy-outs in the financial services sector. The following year in our chapter, Charles B. Carden (Westminster College, Class of 1967, who was initiated in 1964) served in the same capacity as our Chapter Treasurer. Today, he is currently on several boards of directors. Previously, he held a series of executive management or financial management positions, including all of the following: (1) SVP and CFO for Leaseway Transportation Corp., (2) EVP and CFO for Mariner Post-Acute Network and (3) SVP and CFO for John H. Harland Co.
But, all of us were changed by the experience and even transformed from awkward freshmen, who wondered about ourselves on the first day of class, to young men, who might one day change the world in which we lived. Some of my Sigma Chi brothers were even men, who had that chance, either in the business and financial community or as men “of the cloth,” where their faith commitments would lead other men and women plus boys and girls of all ages to make a commitment of their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord.
Finally, in my own experience, I also found that my preparation for life began in our chapter at Delta Tau where I was initiated in 1966 and where I wind up being elected as both our Corresponding Secretary and our Recording Secretary. In another chapter during my junior year, I also served as Rush Chairman. Those experiences collectively led me to a career in the media after graduate school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism. As an example of my own outcome, ultimately I had the opportunity to represent BusinessWeek Magazine as a National Advertising Account Manager during a time when our magazine was consistently the leading national magazine in the US for advertising pages every year during my 13 year tenure. Then, 10 years ago, I began my own media representation firm, James Armstrong & Associates, and I also had the opportunity to write a book entitled “Now What: Discovering Your New Life & Career after 50.” So, I have been privileged to become a media executive and author. But, it all started in Fulton, MO at the Delta Tau Chapter of Sigma Chi.
For Sigma Chi brothers wishing to contact Brother Armstrong, he can be reached at Jim@InboundLogistics.com. Armstrong was initiated into the Delta Tau Chapter in 1966 and graduated from Westminster College in Fulton, MO in 1969. For friends and colleagues, who have known him in the past, he can also be found as a member on both Linked In and Facebook.