Barry McNamara  |  Published August 10, 2023

Nahrstadt ’89 Named SigEp Grand President

At national Sigma Phi Epsilon meeting in San Antonio, Monmouth trustee named to lead role in his fraternity.

THE BIG MOMENT: Brad Nahrstadt '89 acknowledges the cheers after being named grand president ... THE BIG MOMENT: Brad Nahrstadt '89 acknowledges the cheers after being named grand president of Sigma Phi Epsilon at its national conclave in San Antonio on Aug. 5.MONMOUTH, Ill. – When he was interviewed prior to his alma mater’s May 26-28 celebration of the 75th anniversary of Sigma Phi Epsilon on campus, Brad Nahrstadt ’89 spoke very highly of his fraternity experience at Monmouth College.

“It really fundamentally changed who I am as a person,” said Nahrstadt, a member of the Monmouth College Board of Trustees for more than 20 years. “It’s a debt I’ll never be able to repay. I’m blessed.”

As of Aug. 5, Nahrstadt can also say “I’m president” of the fraternity that changed his life.

On the final day of SigEp’s 58th Grand Chapter Conclave, held in San Antonio, Nahrstadt was elected grand president of the national fraternity. He was first elected to its national board of directors in 2015 and recently started his second six-year term in that capacity.

After Nahrstadt’s election was announced at the conclave’s Alumni Awards Dinner, he shared his belief in the fraternity experience and its ability to answer many of the issues facing college men today.

“I firmly believe that our solution to the struggles facing young men today is to provide a bigger and better SigEp experience. And that requires an investment – an investment in our chapter experience, in our volunteer experience and in our programming.” Brad Nahrstadt


“I firmly believe that our solution to the struggles facing young men today is to provide a bigger and better SigEp experience,” he said. “And that requires an investment – an investment in our chapter experience, in our volunteer experience and in our programming.”

Nahrstadt ended his remarks by giving a charge to SigEp members to grow the experience for more brothers.

“I’m asking my undergraduate brothers to invest the time and the effort necessary to win at recruitment,” he said. “Find all the young men on your campus who need what SigEp has to offer and invite them into this brotherhood. For my alumni brothers, I am asking you to go forth from this conclave and evangelize for Sigma Phi Epsilon. Let all your brothers who do not volunteer, who do not invest in our programs, who have had nothing to do with your home chapter since they passed through the red doors on the way to graduation, know that their fraternity needs them now more than ever.”


His SigEp origin story

That Nahrstadt would one day give such an impassioned speech about Greek life would’ve come as a complete shock to the freshman who arrived on Monmouth’s campus in fall 1985.

ANOTHER BIG MOMENT: In May, Nahrstadt played a major role in the on-campus celebration of the 75t... ANOTHER BIG MOMENT: In May, Nahrstadt played a major role in the on-campus celebration of the 75th anniversary of Sigma Phi Epsilon at Monmouth College. “I came to Monmouth knowing I wanted to be an attorney, which is kind of funny, because I also had a paralyzing shyness,” he said. “I was not at all comfortable in crowds. In high school, I didn’t do any extracurricular activities. I wasn’t on any teams, and that suited me just fine. It wasn’t my thing.”

That made the new student from rural Genoa-Kingston High School a very unlikely candidate for Greek life.

“Coming to college, I had no interest in joining a fraternity – zero interest,” said Nahrstadt. “My roommate was dead set on joining one, but he didn’t want to go alone to the first Greek recruiting event. The college had five fraternities at the time, and if you were interested in joining one, you had to go to all five of the presentations. I told him I’d go to the first one with him, but that’s it.”

But then Nahrstadt met the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

“I was just really impressed by the guys I met, and they saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” he said. “On bid day, I was in that room for a solid hour, wondering, ‘Do I accept a bid?’ My parents didn’t want me to, and especially my mom. At the end of the day, I decided I was better off being a part of it than not.”

“It really helped me come out of my shell. By the time I graduated, I was perfectly comfortable standing in front of a group of people and selling. As an attorney, that’s what you have to do. You have to sell, whether it’s yourself, or your firm, or your client’s position.” Brad Nahrstadt


Nahrstadt’s hunch was proven correct.

“It really helped me come out of my shell,” he said. “By the time I graduated, I was perfectly comfortable standing in front of a group of people and selling. As an attorney, that’s what you have to do. You have to sell, whether it’s yourself, or your firm, or your client’s position.”


His legal career

Nahrstadt’s legal career was an unqualified success. He recently retired as the chief operating officer of Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC, a 35-lawyer litigation firm in Chicago. Prior to joining Donohue Brown, he was the president and managing Partner of Lipe Lyons Murphy Nahrstadt & Pontikis Ltd.

From 2008 through his retirement, Nahrstadt was selected by his peers for inclusion in Illinois Leading Lawyers for product liability defense and medical malpractice defense. In 2007 and from 2010 to 2017, he was selected for inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers for product liability defense, and in 2006 he was selected by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin as one of the “40 Illinois Attorneys under 40 to Watch.”

Nahrstadt is the award-winning author or co-author of over 90 articles that have appeared in some of the leading legal publications in the country. In addition to articles, he is the author or co-author of 35 book chapters on all manner of discovery and trial practice. He has served as the general editor of two separate publications issued by the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education: Illinois Product Liability Practice (2005, 2009, 2011, 2014) and Illinois Insurance Law (2009, 2011, 2014).

His book on American judge Alton Brooks Parker (1852-1926), subtitled The Man Who Challenged Roosevelt, will be released on the first day of 2024.

In 2008, the University of Illinois law school graduate was elected to membership in the American Law Institute, an honor reserved for less than 1% of the attorneys practicing in the United States.

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