Chapter History

The idea of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was conceived by Noble Leslie Devotie, a student at the University of Alabama and later the first man to lose his life in the War Between the States. On March 9, 1856 at the University of Alabama, Devotie and seven other men – Nathan Elams Cockrell, Samuel Marion Dennis, John Barratt Rudulph, Abner Edwin Patton, Wade Foster, Thomas Chappell Cook, and John Webb Kerr – founded Sigma Alpha Epsilon, thus making SAE the oldest surviving fraternity founded in the South.

Since then, Sigma Alpha Epsilon has become a leader among college fraternities counting initiates like author William Faulkner, US President William McKinley, and the Original Untouchable Elliot Ness among its ranks.

James C. Jeffries founded South Carolina Gamma at Wofford on October 16, 1885. It was the 48th charter granted by Sigma Alpha Epsilon and remains the 33rd oldest active chapter of the Fraternity. In 1915, fraternities were banned on campus and Wofford lost the official presence of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Yet on February 17, 1923, South Carolina Gamma arose again and officially returned to Wofford. To commemorate the occasion, the Supreme Council granted the chapter a charter that still hangs in the chapter’s house today.

Since then, Sigma Alpha Epsilon has remained a leader on Wofford’s campus, graduating prominent Wofford alumni like former London Fog Chief Executive Officer Robert E. Gregory Jr. ’64 and current Chairman of the Wofford College Board of Trustees Russell C. King, Jr. ’56. Brothers today are active in Wofford’s athletic teams, student government, and service organizations as exemplars of the True Gentleman.