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A Brother That Almost Wasn’t Uses Perseverance To Become a Beta Delta

Jim Tidyman, '54, has always had Sigma Chi in his heart, even before pledging. Ever since he was young, he respected Sigma Chi and its members, and he knew, one day, he would join the brotherhood. At whatever the cost.

See, during pledge week, you had to be invited to attend rush parties for Sigma Chi when Tidyman was an undergrad, and there was just one snag: he wasn't invited because he didn't know a single member.

But Tidyman was determined to be a Sigma Chi so he did what anyone would have done in his shoes. "I arrived at the door with the other prospective pledges and walked in with them, pretending I had been invited," he said. "I was really anxious to be a Sigma Chi. Thanks to his talent for playing the piano, he won his place when he performed "Sweetheart of Sigma Chi," for the gathered brothers. In fact, he was accepted only two days later.

Thinking back on the memory, he laughed and said, "I don't think I ever bothered to tell anyone."

From this scheme, a legacy was born. Tidyman's brother, John, and his nephew, Travis, also pledged Sigma Chi after him. "I was very partial to Sigma Chi, always have been, and I was please to seem them follow me."

Tidyman's time in Sigma Chi gave him not only brothers, but life-long friends. "Many of my friends… are friendships that were made back then. It was a wonderful experience for me." One of these friendships blossomed still further into a business partnership.

Tindyman met Bob Buchanan through Sigma Chi, but they solidified their friendship on an oil rig one summer. Tidyman worked on one during his summers, and Buchanan, a geology major, wanted to get some practical field experience before graduating. He asked Tidyman if he could get him a job.  "He had never been on an oil rig before," Tidyman explained, which undoubtedly led to a memorable summer. Eventually, the two went into business with each other. "We were lifelong friends. We started a grocery company, and we were partners for twenty years.

Tidyman carried more than friendships into his life after school. He was inspired to provide the same experience he enjoyed to others, specifically, those who couldn't get that experience by themselves. In fact, it was his classmates who gave him the push.

"I went to school with a lot of GI’s who had just come out of the service," he explained. The GI bill that offered loans to returning servicemen had been introduced, and they were eager to apply, despite the risks. At the time, schools pushed people to take the loans, and they ended up stuck with debt they had no way to pay.

"It's a program that helped a lot of people, but it certainly hurt a lot of people at the same time. Kids were singing up and had absolutely no concept of what they were getting themselves into. All they knew was they wanted and education."

In response to this, Tidyman was inspired to donate funds for a limit-free scholarship for the fraternity. He has already begun donating to the fund, and plans to donate the rest very soon. "If someone needs a full ride, there will be money there to do that," he said. As it is limit-free, there will be no prerequisites, such as grades, a student need meet, and it will be up to the alumni board who receives what amount.

Tidyman's regard for Sigma Chi is evident in his generous scholarship funding, the lifelong relationships he still keeps and his drive to become a brother through any means.

"It was so important for me to do this, and it was really rewarding."


Core Values, Vision, and Mission

Core Values
Sigma Chi’s core values are Friendship, Justice and Learning. Our vision is to become the preeminent collegiate leadership development organization — aligned, focused and living our core values. Our mission is to develop values-based leaders committed to the betterment of character, campus and community.

The fundamental purpose of the Sigma Chi Fraternity is the cultivation, maintenance and promotion of the core values of Friendship, Justice and Learning.

In the pursuit of these high ideals, the Sigma Chi Fraternity is able to offer tremendous value in augmenting the collegiate experience and supporting the lifelong journey of each of its members. We hope to assist brothers in becoming men of character, caring husbands, compassionate fathers and community leaders.