The mission of Sigma Alpha Epsilon is to promote the highest standards of scholarship, service and friendship for our members. Our ideals were established in 1856 by our Founding Fathers and as written in our creed, “The True Gentleman.”
No other words have better represented the ideals of Sigma Alpha Epsilon than those of “The True Gentleman.” Our creed sets forth the standards by which we base the Fraternity. When Judge Walter B. Jones, past Eminent Supreme Archon of ΣAE, came upon “The True Gentleman,” he sent a copy to John Moseley, who was moved by the elegance of the words. Moseley started using it in the Leadership Schools in the 1930s and the words spread to chapters across the United States.
In the 1970s, The Phoenix editor Joe Walt discovered “The True Gentleman’s” author was John Walter Wayland. The words were published in a manual used at the U.S. Naval Academy. Years prior, The Baltimore Sun chose John Walter Wayland’s submission in a competition for the best definition of a true gentleman.
“The True Gentleman” reflects both the substance & ritual of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Those words are memorized & recited; awards are given to brothers who best exemplify it. “The True Gentleman” remind each member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s standards of behavior. Since our code is something every member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has in common, it helps bond us, providing part of the glue that holds us together. After all, gentlemanliness is the starting point and the indispensable quality of lasting friendships.