SigEp Helped Bill Marvin '65 Become the Man He is Today

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Back in the day, the boys of Sigma Phi Epsilon had a reputation among the young ladies attending Meredith College, thanks in large part to Bill Marvin '65. Set up on a blind date by a brother, Bill immediately connected with his future wife, Beth. When it was time to make dating “official,” his brothers made sure the event didn’t lack fanfare.

“When we got pinned, the brothers went to Raleigh and serenaded her in dinner jackets in front of her dormitory!” Bill exclaims. “She told me later that it was the best performance by a fraternity that anyone could remember. Dates at Meredith were not as hard to get for Sig Eps after that night!”

This was just one example of the many ways the fraternity truly embodied brotherhood. In fact, as a freshman, Bill was drawn to the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon by the sincerity he felt upon meeting them. And it was there that Bill learned many important lessons that made him the man he is today.

“Throughout Rush, I thought the brothers were sincere in what they represented their fraternity to be,” he explains. “There were no put-ons or stuffy attitudes, and they were such a diverse group. Another plus was the fact that a new house was to be built that year.”

Moving into the house, however, proved to be a challenge for Bill.

“I lived in the house my sophomore year and roomed with Gary Edens ’64, who was a junior,” he says. “While very convenient and cool, I didn’t handle the distractions well. For some, it didn’t matter, but for me, my studies suffered as a result.”       

What he did gain, however, were the valuable relationships built both in and outside of the house.

“My freshman year I had a good relationship with my big brother, Doug Squillario ’62, and the president of the house, Henry Absher ’62,” he states. “Both gave good advice whether I asked for it or not, and I remembered to try and do likewise to my little brother later.”

That sense of responsibility and passing the torch was not lost on Bill, as he continues to support the chapter financially today.

“I am an impulsive giver on donations,” he admits. “Not sure what motivated me this last time, except that I noticed someone I knew had donated. I thought—well, if someone I knew had given, then maybe others who knew me would do the same. If everyone gave a little…”

When Bill was in school, it was a particularly tumultuous time in the country.

“At that time, the protest movement was being started on campus, and the reactions even in our house were varied and complex,” he says.

But this gave him a unique opportunity to learn how to deal with all kinds of different viewpoints.

“The fraternity made me aware of the differences in people that I had not realized before,” he explains. “It helped me to try and accept people for who they are and not be too judgmental.”

Taking those lessons into his post-graduate life, Bill has enjoyed a successful career in sales for 45 years prior to his retirement seven years ago. He and Beth have three sons, two of which are professional engineers and the third is a VP of a marketing firm. They also spend plenty of time enjoying their three grandsons.

“Today, I spend much of my time on the golf course with some other retired friends,” Bill says. “I’m also involved with my church and Habitat for Humanity. I spend some time managing a tree farm in South Carolina that has been in the family for four generations. The rest of the time, I just do what my wife, Beth, tells me!”

Bill also stays in regular contact with some of his brothers, including Allen Pharr ’65 and Ron Ward ’65. Others that he has stayed connected with are Bill Pope ’65, Jack Temple '65, Jim Lowdermilk ’63, and Bob Hunter ’66.

While Bill’s time in the house and as a Sigma Phi Epsilon may have been many years ago, he carries with him cherished memories. From major life moments (such as meeting his wife and lifelong friends) to the simple things (such as the delicious food prepared by the house cook, Oscar Bynum, and pick-up basketball games), he made sure to take full advantage of his opportunities.

He hopes the active brothers today make the most of the time they have and make close friends they can rely on to stick with them in hard times and good times.

“Your relationships will be worth more than anything,” he says.