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Sigma Xi, A New Era

In my final From the President, I present a brief description of what I believe is the dawning of a new era for our Society. In 1990, Sigma Xi moved its administrative offices from New Haven, Connecticut, to Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The Society planned to lease temporary space until the New Haven building was sold and the new Sigma XiCenter could be constructed. Because of the real estate market and other complications, the New Haven building was not sold until 2002. The Society's staff has patiently labored in inadequate facilities for 13 years. In recent months, a number of factors have merged to make it possible to build the Sigma Xi Center, a new home for the Society.

A dynamic leader, Dr. Patrick Sculley, became executive director of Sigma Xi in June 2002. He quickly moved to clear several impediments to long-standing plans for the Center. The original plan had been to build on a site in Research Triangle Park provided by TUCASI (Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies, Inc.). Because of terrain and environmental concerns, construction on this leased site became more complex and expensive. A decision was made to look at other sites within the Park. Fortunately a beautiful and centrally located site was found. Sigma Xi now owns this site. In October Dr. Sculley, working with the Strategic Planning Committee, developed a strategic plan for the Society. Among other goals, this plan outlines the construction of a 52,000-square-foot building that will be home to the Sigma Xi staff, including the staff of American Scientist. It will house conference space and an auditorium to serve as a venue for meetings and as a destination for ourmembers. In addition, the center will provide space for visiting scholars. At the annual meeting in Galveston, Texas, in November, the Board of Directors approved the strategic plan and also the construction of the Sigma Xi Center. This October Sigma Xi will move into its new home.

For several years Sigma Xi has had a building fund. The proceeds from the New Haven building were deposited in this fund. The Research Triangle Foundation, which provided a grant to assist with Sigma Xi's move in 1990, also made an early pledge to Sigma Xi's building fund. This pledge has been honored with the recent gift of $1 million. The financing of the remainder of the $9 million for construction and furnishing of the Sigma Xi Center has been arranged with a bank note backed by our endowment. Fortunately, interest rates are at a 40-year low. The note was arranged to provide for the retirement of the "mortgage" through what would have been lease costs had we remained in the leased space. However, the Board of Directors has authorized a building campaign with a goal of raising the funds to retire this mortgage within five years. I sincerely hope every member of Sigma Xi will wish to contribute to achieve that goal.

Actions to achieve the other goals of the strategic plan are being initiated by the staff, which has been reorganized to facilitate achievement of these goals. The Committee on Finances will recommend that the next annual budget also be aligned along the lines of the strategic plan. I see a new era for Sigma Xi. The dynamic leadership now in place promises to bring new opportunities for all of us to be Companions in Zealous Research.

W. Franklin Gilmore
President, Sigma Xi

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