Jeff Jacobson Finishes Term as Supreme Master
I find myself reflecting more than usual. Maybe it is because I am nearing the end of my term at AEPi’s 74th Supreme Master. Or perhaps it could be because the world is quieter these days, in the midst of a historic pandemic.
Our fraternity will be 107 years old this November. Take a moment to think about all that AEPi has survived over its 107 years. Let’s start with 1913, the year of AEPi’s birth.
Arizona – where I’ve lived for more than half of my life – was admitted to the Union as the forty-eighth state just a year earlier. The Federal Reserve System (which has been in the news lately, if you haven’t noticed) was established. Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated as America’s 28th President. Ford started production of the Model T in Detroit. Both Rosa Parks and Jimmy Hoffa were born. And, of course, at the School of Commerce of New York University, the fraternity world officially welcomed AEPi. The Empire State Building would not rise above the New York City skyline for another 17 years.
Our founders, those 11 middle-class night students whom we now revere as the Immortal Eleven, could not have possibly imagined what they were starting, the impact AEPi and its Brothers would have on the world, or what the world would have in store for AEPi. It would be another 35 years before the Declaration of the State of Israel was proclaimed.
By 1918, the “Spanish flu” pandemic infected 500 million people, killing tens of millions. Prohibition started on December 5, 1924. By the end of 1934, the Great Depression wiped out many older, larger, more established fraternal organizations. But AEPi survived.
The Shoah. Pearl Harbor. World War II. The 1950s brought us the vaccine for Polio, Velcro, and the first birth control pill. Vietnam. The Korean War. ZIP codes are introduced, John F. Kennedy is assassinated, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ends racial segregation in public places and schools. Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin become the first walk on the moon. The Cuban Missile Crisis. And within the span of a year, the New York Mets, Jets, and Knicks all win world championships. Still, AEPi survived.
The Munich Massacre of 11 Israeli Olympians. Watergate. Three Mile Island. Star Wars and Star Trek on the big screen. The Iran Hostage Crisis. AIDS. Tiananmen Square. The Berlin Wall. The Challenger and the Exxon Valdez. And who can forget Back to the Future, Wham!, Bon Jovi, and LL Cool J. AEPi…well, it started to thrive.
AEPi has spanned over 12 decades of history. Today, AEPi is stronger than ever. What makes AEPi so strong, so resilient, so viable is the fabric that is our Brotherhood. Every year that we rush and initiate new Brothers, they become interwoven with 107 years of those who came before us. What is remarkable is how our organization has grown and evolved to the point where what AEPi does – and how we do it – has become transformative and inspirational. History tells us, in no uncertain terms, that AEPi, true to our legacy as a tribe of desert nomads, will survive and thrive.
In May 1922, the SBG announced an AEPi essay contest, “How Can a Fraternity Best Serve the Interests of the Community?” 98 years later, I tender this question to you. In today’s world – full of fear, apprehension, divisiveness, uncertainty, and change – how can AEPi best serve the interests of our community? I look forward to hearing from you.
Jeffrey H. Jacobson (Northern Arizona, 1992)
Past Supreme MasterGo back to cover