"I will endeavor to retain the spirit of youth"
~Sigma Chi Creed, George Ade ΔΔ 1887

Al Menke … Still at the Top of His Game

Allen Menke '43

Centennial Celebration Memories

It was at last year’s Centennial Celebration that Al Menke ’43 captured our attention with his stories about life as an active and pledge at 202 Littleton in the early 1940s. It was a real delight and honor to hear of the special memories that Brother Menke recalled. It is a rare opportunity to hear from a brother who has been recognized as a Significant Sig and a member of the Order of Constantine. Brother Menke over his many years has demonstrated that the spirit of Sigma Chi can be part of your life for many, many years.


Al during his playing days at Purdue.

Athletic and Academic Success

Al came to Purdue in 1940 to play basketball following a successful high school career at Huntingburg where he was twice All-Sectional and All-Regional. He was a two year starter at Purdue graduating in three years and winning the school's Big Ten Medal and the Ward Lambert Trophy for athletic and academic proficiency. Brother Menke is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and the Purdue Athletic Hall of Fame.


Al graduated in December 1943 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Upon graduation he was commissioned in the Ordinance Department of the U.S. Army and became an Engineering Instructor at the Military Academy at West Point. He returned to Purdue after the war and received a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1948.


Al went on to a distinguished business career serving as Executive Vice President for Trane, Group Vice President for Borg-Warner, and then CEO and Owner of Artesian Industries.


Service to Sigma Chi

Sigma Chi was never far from Brother Menke’s thoughts as he served on the Board of Governors of the Sigma Chi Foundation for ten years and is currently an Emeritus Member of the Board. He was Treasurer of the Foundation for four years.


Al and his sweetheart, Virginia, were married for 69 years when she passed away last year. Virginia was a Theta at Purdue.


Bernie Sergesketter ’58 remarked, "Al and I both lived for many years in the same Chicago suburb, Winnetka. We are close friends and have shared many experiences, such as playing in the same tennis group for many years and serving on the Board of Governors of the Sigma Chi Foundation together. Al has a deep love of Sigma Chi and Purdue. He is a true gentleman, and I am privileged and proud to have Al as a Delta Delta brother."


At the age of 93 Al still plays a little tennis, visits family and takes part in any Sigma Chi events he can.



Coach Piggy Lambert with Al following the awarding of the Ward Lambert Trophy for athletic and academic achievement.

L-R: Al Menke '43 with Harold Force '73 and Bernie Sergesketter ’58 at the 2013 Centennial Celebration.