In 1951, Lloyd L. Antle, an Ohio University graduate and Professor of Marketing at Georgia State University, conceived of the idea that the sales profession should have a professional fraternity of its own. After over a year of planning with the support of three of his colleagues, Pi Sigma Epsilon was established on May 14, 1952. All four men were members of the Sales and Marketing Executives (SME) association of Atlanta, Georgia, which continues to be a sponsor of Pi Sigma Epsilon to this day. Our four founders carefully chose the Greek letters of the Fraternity to represent the three groups of membership:
- Prospective Sales Executives (Collegiate Members)
- Preparers of Sales Executives (Educator Members)
- Professional Sales Executives (Professionals and Alumni Members)
Originally an all-male organization, which was characteristic of the sales profession at the time, Pi Sigma Epsilon became co-ed in 1974 after an amendment to the national constitution. Today women play key roles in all levels of the fraternity and in fact make up a slight majority of the membership in most chapters.
Another feature of Pi Sigma Epsilon is that the term "pledge" is not used, as it portrays a negative stereotype that goes against the ideals of the Fraternity. Hazing is strictly forbidden and all of those taking the steps to become full members are "prospective members" until initiation.