Mark Smith ’78: “Time stood still… she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen.” 

For Mark Smith ’78, pledging Sigma Nu led to a lot more than fun times, great friends, and a few memorable adventures – although there was plenty of all that too. In his case, one fateful evening at the house changed the course of his entire life, for the better. 

“Sophomore year, September 1979. Just an ordinary rush party,” he recalls. “I was just walking around when I saw Bonnie. I just froze. Time stood still. I know it’s sounds corny as hell, but it’s true. I thought she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. I was scared to death to talk to her, just like Charlie Brown and the little red-haired girl.” 

Fortunately, Mark conquered his fears and struck up a conversation. The rest, as he explains it, is history: “A year later my lavalier, then my pin, then a ring.” 

Long before finding his future wife there, Mark was initially attracted to Sigma Nu by a welcoming and open atmosphere. “I can look back and say we were inclusive before it was a ‘thing.’ I don’t think any of us fit a certain mold, and I definitely don’t recall a single rush meeting where we discussed someone and how they did or didn’t fit a certain mold.” Thinking back on his fraternity days, a few memories stand out.  

“The Tube Lab. some of the most spontaneous fun ever.” 

“Jim clayton arranging his entire class schedule one quarter so he could watch ‘Mr. Ed’ in the mornings. I can still hear him laughing.” 

“One Fall rush when Billy Barnett would fake names in the list from that night just to get them read out loud. Like, ‘Will Klink, looking for a man named hogan.’” 

He also narrowly missed a brush with infamy (and probably law enforcement) at the University of Georgia. “Senior year my roommate Chris Troutman road-tripped to Athens. It was a weekend, and for some reason, I had Bonnie’s car. He called me in the middle of the night to come get him. While driving around the campus, we spotted Uga’s doghouse that travelled with him for road games. For reasons I still don’t understand, it was on a trailer and not locked up. If Bonnie’s car had a trailer hitch, we could have had it.” 

Memories of brotherhood, camaraderie, and hijinks will all endure, but in Mark’s world, the lasting legacy of Sigma Nu will be the night he met Bonnie. 

“Forty years later she still has it – and the sweater she was wearing that night. Really.”