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Inspiring brotherhood

Drake chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon earns top national award

Shiv Morjaria (middle left) and Ryan Price (middle right) accepted the Honor of Philias Award for Drake's Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter.

More than 1,400 men from across the United States rose to their feet to applaud seven Drake students who accepted Sigma Phi Epsilon’s highest award for brotherhood last month.

Drake’s chapter of the fraternity — Iowa Delta — received the Honor of Philias for Great Brotherly Love at the national fraternity’s biannual meeting held in Pheonix. It was an emotional display of admiration toward a fraternity whose members have weathered challenges with inspiring solidarity.

“I was told several times during the meeting that Sigma Phi Epsilon — the largest fraternity in the country — looks up to Drake as it’s flagship chapter in dedication,” said Ryan Price, president of Iowa Delta and a junior politics and broadcast news double major from Apple Valley, Minn.

This national recognition comes as a result of Iowa Delta’s recent noteworthy conduct. Last October, when member Shiv Morjaria was diagnosed with cancer, his fraternity brothers rallied to support him.

Morjaria, a sophomore actuarial science major from Mombasa, Kenya, never faced a treatment session alone. Chapter members transported him to doctor visits and the organization’s alumni board has covered 90 percent of his medical costs. Iowa Delta also allocated funds allowing Morjaria’s mother to travel to Des Moines to be with her son.

“I would not be the same person today without the support of my brothers,” said Morjaria, who attended the awards ceremony in Pheonix. “They’ve helped me through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. It is almost like finding 108 new family members.”

Tyler Boggess, JO’10, Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter services director, said that the appreciation Iowa Delta received at the ceremony was overwhelming.

Drake's chapter received the national SigEp award for their support of brother Shiv Morjaria, who was diagnosed with cancer.

“The standing ovation was awe-inspiring,” Boggess said. “I couldn’t have been more proud to be an alumnus of Iowa Delta. Receiving the Honor of Philias shows the character of the chapter and the power a fraternity holds.”

At the ceremony, Iowa Delta also received The Buchanan Cup for Chapter Excellence, an award recognizing a decade of excellence in all areas of operation. Out of 250 chapters from across the country, Drake was among nine to receive the award.

“It’s difficult to tell exactly what our chapter has done to deserve these accolades,” Price said. “We constantly strive to challenge ‘frat’ stereotypes. Sigma Phi Epsilon’s motto is ‘This fraternity will be different,’ and that’s especially true at Drake. Higher education often questions the purpose of fraternities, for good reason, and we try to prove we serve an important — and positive — role in a young man’s development.”

— Stella Hart, Class of 2012