4th of March Flagship Dinner: A Tribute to JLJ

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March 9, 2013 marked a grand occasion as over 125 brothers and honored guests gathered at the Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria Virginia to celebrate the 186th anniversary of the Sigma Phi Society and the life of Chairman Emeritus James L. Jenkins S’58.

The evening was hosted by Brendan McCurdy H’80. James Vincent Cole S’87, Chairman of the Sigma Phi Society and James L. Jenkins, Jr. both offered words in loving memory of Jim.

“For me — I hear only one voice say how I feel about Jim,” said Cole. “I hear Jim’s voice saying — so long as our hearts shall beat, so long for you my brother shall our love remain firm and inviolate.”

Delivering the keynote address, Mike Imirie M’69, stated that Jim was one of a small group of Sig leaders who modeled true dedication to Sigma Phi for the long run. “Jim was deep. He was warm. He was thoughtful. He was committed to the enriching and embracing possibilities of Sigma Phi,” he stated. “Were he to hear my praise tonight, Brother Jenkins would no doubt shake his silver, bespectacled head and modestly demur. In a trademark Richmond drawl, that dear friend would admonish that each of us has the opportunity to help shape the quality of this Society… if we decide to become long run Sigs.”

The highlight of the evening were excerpts from letters Jim wrote to his mother during his time as an active brother and undergraduate at U.Va. In the final letter, Jim discussed the completion of his duties as Head of House, and his planned “retirement” from the Society, a retirement that he thankfully never took over the 50 years of faithful service that followed.

At the time of Jim’s passing, he was leading a $115,000 Capital Campaign for the Alpha of Virginia. In his honor — and to fulfill his wish to complete the campaign — many bothers have increased their generosity. Dozens of new contributions, totaling over $12,000 were made in the weeks leading up to the March 9 tribute event in Alexandria.

The Flagship Dinner is one of two, annual official gatherings for all national members of the Sigma Phi Society. The next national gathering will be in Chapel Hill, North Carolina when the Alpha of North Carolina hosts convention on October 18-20, 2013.

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