Sigma Chi (ΣΧ) is one of the largest and oldest all-male, college, Greek-letter social fraternities and a secret society. Sigma Chi was founded on June 28, 1855 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio when members split from Delta Kappa Epsilon. Sigma Chi has seven founding members: Benjamin Piatt Runkle, Thomas Cowan Bell, William Lewis Lockwood, Isaac M. Jordan, Daniel William Cooper, Franklin Howard Scobey, and James Parks Caldwell. Sigma Chi is a part of the Miami Triad, along with Beta Theta Pi and Phi Delta Theta.
The fraternity's official colors are blue and old gold, and its badge is a white cross with emblems on each of its arms: crossed keys on the upper arm, an eagle's head on the right arm, seven gold stars and a pair of clasped hands on the lower arm, and a scroll on the left arm. In the center of the cross, on a black background, are the gold symbols for the Greek letters Sigma (Σ) and Chi (Χ). The left and right arms are connected to the upper arm by gold chains.
Sigma Chi's purpose is to promote the concepts of Friendship, Justice, and Learning; its mission statement is to develop values-based leaders committed to the betterment of character, campus and community. Sigma Chi's vision statement is "to become the preeminent collegiate leadership development organization—aligned, focused and living our core values".
On June 13, 2005, Sigma Chi was the first Greek-letter society to be honored by the United States Congress for the fraternity's 150th anniversary.
The founding of Sigma Chi began as the result of a disagreement over who would be elected Poet in the Erodelphian Literary Society of old Miami University in Ohio.
Several members of Miami University's Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter (of which all but one of Sigma Chi's founders were members) were also members of the Erodelphian Literary Society. In the fall of 1854 this society was to pick its Poet, and a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon was nominated for the position. He was supported by five of his brothers, but four others (Caldwell, Jordan, Runkle, and Scobey) felt that he lacked the required poetic talent. These men instead chose to give their support to another man who was not a member of the fraternity. Bell and Cooper were not members of Erodelphian, but their support for the dissenting four was unequivocal. The chapter had twelve members and so was evenly divided. Other differences might have been forgotten, but both sides saw this conflict as a matter of principle and over the next few months there came a distancing of their friendship.
The matter finally came to a head in February 1855, when, in an attempt to seal the rift, Runkle and his companions planned a dinner for their brothers. The feast was prepared, and the table was set, but only one of the men who supported the DKE member as poet arrived, Whitelaw Reid. With him Reid brought a stranger. The six learned that the stranger was an alumnus of DKE from a nearby town.
"My name is Minor Millikin; I live in Hamilton", said the man. "I am a man of few words." Reid had told Millikin his side of the dispute, and the two were present to lay down punishment on Runkle, Scobey, and the rest. The leaders of the rebellion (Runkle and Scobey) were to be expelled from the fraternity. The other four, after being properly chastised, would be allowed to stay a part of the group.
At the announcement of the punishment, Runkle stepped forward. He pulled off his Deke pin, tossed it to the table, and said, "I didn't join this fraternity to be anyone's tool! And that, sir", addressing Millikin, "is my answer!" Runkle stalked from the room and his five brothers followed. One final chapter meeting was held, at which the chapter was six-to-six divided on the issue of expulsion. The parent chapter at Yale University was contacted, and all six men were formally expelled.
The six men soon associated themselves with William Lewis Lockwood, a student from New York who had not joined a fraternity. Lockwood's natural business acumen helped to organize the fraternity in its early years. On June 28, 1855 (Commencement at Old Miami), the Sigma Phi Fraternity was founded.
The theft of the Constitution, Ritual, Seals, and other records from Lockwood's room in Oxford in January 1856 necessitated the change of the name of the fraternity to Sigma Chi. Eventually, this action could have been forced upon the group as there was already a Sigma Phi Society in the collegiate world.
Much of Sigma Chi's heraldry is inspired by the legendary story of the Emperor Constantine from the Battle of Milvian Bridge against Maxentius. Notably, the White Cross and the motto "In Hoc Signo Vinces" are evidence of the Constantine link. Although many of the symbols of Sigma Chi relate to Christianity, Sigma Chi is not a religious or Christian fraternity.
- Benjamin Piatt Runkle (September 3, 1836 – June 28, 1916) was born in West Liberty, Ohio. Runkle helped design the badge of Sigma Chi based on the story of Constantine and the vision of the cross. Runkle was known for having a fierce pride and was suspended from Miami University when he fought a member of Beta Theta Pi for sneering at his badge. When the Civil War began Runkle joined the Union Army. He was badly wounded at the Battle of Shiloh and left for dead on the battlefield. Runkle stayed in the army as a career and retired as a major general. After the army he was ordained an Episcopal priest. He was the only founder to serve as Grand Consul. He died on Sigma Chi's 61st birthday in Ohio. He is now buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
- Thomas Cowan Bell (May 14, 1832 - February 3, 1919) was born near Dayton, Ohio. He was twenty-three years old when Sigma Chi was founded, second oldest of the founders. He graduated from Miami University in 1857 and began teaching. In 1861 he enlisted in the Union army and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. After the war he returned to his career in education, serving as the superintendent of schools in Nobles County, Minnesota as well as the principal and president of several preparatory and collegiate institutions in the Western United States. Bell died the day after attending the initiation of alpha beta chapter at University of California Berkeley on February 3, 1919. He is buried at the Presidio of San Francisco in San Francisco National Cemetery in California. Section OS, Row 43A, Grave 3.
- William Lewis Lockwood (October 31, 1836 - August 17, 1867) was born in New York City. He was the only founder who had not been a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. He was considered the "businessman" of the founders and managed the first chapter's funds and general operations, becoming the first Quaestor of Sigma Chi. After graduating from Miami University in 1858 he moved back to New York and began work as a lawyer. He joined the Union Army at the breakout of the Civil War and suffered serious wounds, from which he never recovered. He was the first founder to enter the Chapter Eternal. He named his son after Franklin Howard Scobey.
- Isaac M. Jordan (May 5, 1835 - December 3, 1890) was born in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania as Isaac Alfred Jordan. His family later moved to Ohio where Jordan met Benjamin Piatt Runkle and became close friends. After graduating from Miami University in 1857 he went onto graduate school, where he graduated in 1862. He then began work as an attorney and was elected to the United States Congress in 1882. He died in 1890 after accidentally falling down an elevator shaft while greeting a friend. He is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Daniel William Cooper (September 2, 1830 - December 11, 1920) was born near Fredericktown, Ohio. Cooper was the oldest founder and was elected the first consul of Sigma Chi. After graduating from Miami University in 1857 he became a Presbyterian minister. Cooper's original Sigma Phi badge came into the possession of the Fraternity at the time of his death. It is pinned on every new Grand Consul at their installation.
- Franklin Howard Scobey (May 27, 1837 - July 22, 1888) was born in Hamilton, Ohio. Scobey was considered The Spirit of Sigma Chi for being friendly with everybody and not just a select group of people. After graduating from Miami University in 1858 he went on to graduate again in 1861 with a law degree. He worked as a journalist in his hometown until 1879 but went on to become a cattleman in Kansas until 1882. Scobey then moved back to Ohio where he took up farming until his death. Never physically robust, Scobey was afflicted with hearing loss in his final years.
- James Parks Caldwell (March 27, 1841 - April 5, 1912) was born in Monroe, Ohio. By the age of thirteen Caldwell had completed all academics which could be offered at his local academy. He was then sent to Miami University with advanced credits. Caldwell was just fourteen at the time of the founding making him the youngest of the founders. After Caldwell graduated from Miami University in 1857 he practiced some law in Ohio but moved to Mississippi to begin a career as an educator. When the Civil War broke out he joined the Confederate Army. During the war he was taken prisoner but rejected an offer at freedom on the condition that he renounce his allegiance to the Confederacy. After the war he moved back to Mississippi and was admitted to the bar. He moved to California in 1867 and practiced law. In 1875 he began to travel frequently practicing law and editing newspapers. He died in Biloxi, Mississippi where the latest issues of The Sigma Chi Quarterly were found in his room.
Harry St. John Dixon, a brother from the Psi Chapter at the University of Virginia who fought for the Confederacy, kept a record of all Sigma Chi's within his vicinity on the flyleaf of his diary during the American Civil War. He began planning a Confederate Army chapter of Sigma Chi with this information. On September 17, 1864 Dixon founded the Constantine Chapter of Sigma Chi during the Atlanta campaign with Harry Yerger, a brother from Mississippi who was in Dixon's division. Dixon stated the reasons for which the war-time chapter was created saying,
It was ascertained that a number of the fraternity were in the army of Tennessee under General Joseph E. Johnston during the Atlanta campaign in 1864. It was conceded that the South was forever disunited from the general government, and it was assumed that all chapters throughout the South would cease to exist. Furthermore, it was deemed expedient that we brothers should know each other and our several commands for the purpose of relief in distress, and communication in a case of need, with our Northern brethren. In the ruin at hand my sentiment was to preserve the lofty principles typified by the White Cross. I know that I had no authority to establish a chapter of Sigma Chi outside a college, or at all; but, isolated as we were, I thought I should raise the standard and fix a rallying point. By doing so we should preserve the Order, whether we failed or not in our struggle for independence.
Dixon and Yerger contacted all brothers listed in the diary who could come to the meeting. They met at night in a deserted log cabin a few miles southwest of Atlanta. Dixon later wrote, Dixon was elected "Sigma" (president) and Yerger was elected "Chi" (vice president); the chapter also initiated two men. The only badge in the chapter was one Dixon had made from a silver half-dollar.
The last meeting was held New Year's Day 1865. The men at that meeting passed a resolution to pay a "tribute of respect" to the four brothers from the chapter who had died during the war. In May 1939 the Constantine Chapter Memorial was erected by Sigma Chi in memory of the Constantine Chapter and its members. The memorial is located on U.S. 41 in Clayton County, Georgia.
In 1876, Emerson E. White became president of Purdue University
. He declared that each applicant for admission must sign a pledge binding him "not to join or belong to any so-called Greek society
or other college secret society
" while attending Purdue. The Sigma Chi chapter, Delta Delta, was already established at the university and tried to convince the authorities of the rule's injustice. They sent petitions to the faculty and pleaded their case to the board of trustees
, but they were unsuccessful.
In the fall of 1881, Thomas P. Hawley applied for admission to the university. Having already been initiated into Sigma Chi, Hawley refused to sign the pledge and was denied admission. Hawley took Purdue to court, but the judge, D.P. Vinton, ruled in favor of the faculty's decision. He also ruled, however, that the faculty had no right to deny Hawley from his classes based on the fraternity issue. The case soon found its way to the Indiana Supreme Court and on June 21, 1882 reversed Vinton's decision. This victory for Sigma Chi also allowed fraternities at Purdue.
First half of the 20th century
During the first half of the 20th century the General Fraternity expanded in many places. In 1899 the Fraternity adopted the flag design created by Henry V. Vinton. In 1901 the Grand Chapter approved the Fraternity's pledge pin. In 1903 at the Grand Chapter in Detroit
the Board of Grand Trustees was established. In 1922 the Alpha Beta chapter at University of California, Berkeley
held the "Channingway Derby" which led to the creation of the "Sigma Chi Derby Days". Some of the awards created during this time include the Significant Sig Award in 1935 and the Order of Constantine in 1948.
Coming into the beginning of the 20th Century Sigma Chi had installed a total of 74 chapters with 58 still active. Having only established a centralized form of government in 1822 Sigma Chi was installing new chapters at a rate of about one chapter per year. On April 22, 1922 the Beta Omega chapter was installed at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario thus making Sigma Chi an international fraternity.
The Sigma Chi Foundation was created on November 9, 1939 when the Sigma Chi Endowment Foundation was incorporated in Colorado. This educational endowment was first discussed in 1898 by alumni who wanted to assist undergraduates financially so they could finish their undergraduate studies.
The world wars of the 20th century took the lives of 103 Sigs in World War I and 738 in World War II. A great resurgence in undergraduate activity followed World War II due to an increase in chapter memberships. This increase was caused by the men returning from military service who went back to school as well as the usual addition of new brothers.
During World War II it became apparent to the General Fraternity officers that a few alumni as well as a few undergraduate chapters believed some of the prerequisites for membership in Sigma Chi were outdated and should be changed or eliminated. This led to the first discussions about membership within the fraternity that continued until early in 1970. The membership requirements which had been used for a long time had specified that a potential member must be a "bona fide white male student." After the first discussion in 1948 at the Grand Chapter in Seattle the committee on Constitutional Amendments tabled the issue pending a further study of the problem to be reported to the 1950 Grand Chapter. Further study showed that on 13 campuses containing a chapter the issue was "very hot" while it was only "lukewarm" on a dozen other campuses.
This time period saw the death of the last four founders of Sigma Chi with Daniel William Cooper being the last. Cooper's death led up to the Fraternity gaining one of its most priceless objects, Cooper's Sigma Phi badge. Cooper's body was sent by train to his final resting place in Pittsburgh. The Beta Theta chapter at the University of Pittsburgh was given the privilege to administer Cooper's memorial service. On December 13, 1920 Cooper's body was conveyed to the Beta Theta chapter house where Beta Theta Consul Donald E. Walker removed Cooper's Sigma Phi Badge and replaced it with his own. Beta Theta Pro-Consul Regis Toomey sang the hymn "With Sacred Circle Broken" before Cooper was taken to his final resting place.
As with most fraternities, before pledging begins, the potential pledge must go thorugh the rush process. Each chapter holds rush events during the period, usually within a weeks time. During this period each chapter will hold a bid meeting to discuss each potential member. To gain a bid from Sigma Chi the student must meet the qualifications as defined by the Jordan Standard
. When a potential pledge receives a bid they have a choice to accept or decline. If the bid is accepted they will enter into pledgeship and become a potential member. Sigma Chi recently has adopted a new recruitment policy called Mission 365, where the fraternity will constantly be recruiting throughout the entire year. The theory behind this idea is that if Sigma Chi's live their lives according to principle 365 days a year, potential brothers-to-be will naturally find themselves attracted to Sigma Chi instead of the fraternity having to go out and sell themselves to potential new brothers.
Pledgeship is a probationary period for potential members before they are fully initiated into Sigma Chi. The pledge period differs in length from chapter to chapter but eight weeks is the recommended length by Headquarters. The pledge period consists of intellectual exercises to cultivate potential members into becoming brothers; this includes learning the history of Sigma Chi, the operational workings of Sigma Chi, leadership skills, and allows the potential members to become an integral part of the chapter before initiation.
Many aspects of the pledge program differ for each chapter, being set by that chapter under the direction of the Magister, though a large degree of continuity between chapters and "pledge classes" is maintained. All potential members in Sigma Chi are given a pledge pin and a Norman Shield. The pledge pin is a blue Norman Shield bearing the White Cross of Sigma Chi outlined in old gold.
On January 31
Sigma Chi announced a zero-tolerance stance on the issue of hazing. Sigma Chi defines hazing as "an act performed by any Sigma Chi or pledge member that results in an environment of servitude or in any way endangers or demeans a Sigma Chi or pledge member, regardless of that person's willingness to participate in that act."
Organization of the fraternity
Undergraduate chapter officers
Officers may vary from each chapter with some chapters not using certain positions and others creating new positions. The duties of each officer may vary from each chapter as well.
- Consul (pronounced Kon'-sul)- The Consul is the President of the chapter. He presides over chapter meetings as well as other chapter activities. He is responsible for the security of the charter, Ritual and ritualistic materials.
- Pro Consul (pronounced Pro Kon'-sul)- The Pro Consul is the Vice President of the chapter. He works with the Consul in running chapter meetings as well as other chapter activities. The Pro Consul presides over the chapter's executive committee and works with other committees within the chapter. The Pro Consul is also responsible for running Post Initiation Training (P.I.T.) and must be prepared to take over the Consul's duties if the Consul were to be absent.
- Quaestor (pronounced Kwee'-stir)- The Quaestor is the treasurer of the chapter. He keeps track of all chapter funds and is responsible for collecting dues from members. He must prepare a budget before each fiscal year and presents it for approval before the chapter.
- Magister (pronounced Ma-gee'-stir)- The Magister is the pledge teacher who prepares the pledge brothers for Initiation. He prepares the program which teaches the pledge brothers about the ideals of Sigma Chi. He is allowed to assist the Pro Consul in P.I.T.
- Recruitment Chairman- The Recruitment Chairman organizes the chapters rush program. He must provide the chapter with information on the rush guests and is responsible for in turn providing information to rush guests on fraternity life and expectations.
- Annotator- The Annotator keeps accurate records of chapter meetings in the chapter minute book. He keeps track of all chapter files and records as well as the chapter's permanent record of member data. In addition, he coordinates the community service activities of the chapter.
- The Risk Manager- The Risk Manager develops and implements the chapter's safety management program. He coordinates safety education to the chapter and addresses concerns related to chapter risks such as building maintenance, alcohol use, drug use, hazing and sexual abuse. Note - the term Centurian was proposed but rejected for this position.
- Tribune- The Tribune prepares all necessary chapter correspondence, reports, and other required information to University and Fraternity officials.
- Chapter Editor- The Chapter Editor maintains files on previous chapter publications as well as publications from other chapters and General Headquarters. He publishes at least two chapter newsletters a year describing current alumni and undergraduate activities. He also coordinates the publications of chapter material such as recruitment brochures, philanthropy programs, and quarterly news to The Magazine of Sigma Chi.
- Historian- The Historian gathers and creates records of the members and activities of the chapter. He also preserves previous records of the chapter into a library to be sent to the Grand Historian if needed.
- Kustos (pronounced Koo'-stows)- The Kustos assists with chapter meetings and keeps the privacy of the chapter room.
- House Manager- The House Manager takes care of the maintenance, safety, and cleanliness of the chapter house.
- Interfraternity Council Representative- The Interfraternity Council(IFC) Representative attends all IFC meetings and communicates information to the chapter. He may also plan events and programs with other fraternities on campus.
- Public Relations Chairman- The Public Relations Chairman develops and implements a public relations program. He must generate favorable publicity in campus and community media.
- Scholarship Chairman- The Scholarship Chairman develops and implements a scholastic program and education programs with the campus. He provides information on learning resources to the chapter. He also serves as chapter liaison with the Sigma Chi Foundation.
- Steward- The Steward plans the chapter meal service and kitchen operations.
Alumni chapter officers
Officers may vary from each chapter/association with some chapters not using certain positions and others creating new positions. The duties of each officer may vary from each chapter as well. Many alumni chapters use the more common office titles such as: president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer.
- Consul- The Consul is the President of the chapter. He presides over chapter meetings as well as other chapter activities.
- Pro Consul- The Pro Consul is the Vice President of the chapter. He works with the Consul in running chapter meetings as well as other chapter activities. The Pro Consul presides over the chapter's executive committee and works with other committees within the chapter. The Pro Consul is also responsible performing the Consul's duties if the Consul is not present.
- Annotator- The Annotator keeps track of all chapter files and records as well as the chapter's permanent record of member data. In addition, he coordinates the annual report to headquarters.
- Quaestor- The Quaestor is the treasurer of the chapter. He keeps track of all chapter funds and is responsible for collecting dues from members. Prepares a budget before each fiscal year and presents it for approval before the chapter.
- Grand Consul The Grand Consul is the International President of Sigma Chi. He presides over the Executive Committee, Grand Chapter and the Sigma Chi Corporation. The current Grand Consul is Robert H.W. Jones, III.
- Grand Pro Consul The Grand Pro Consul is the International Vice President of Sigma Chi. He presides over the Grand Council and the selection committee. He must be prepared to take over the Grand Consul's duties if the Grand Consul were to be absent. The current Grand Pro Consul is L. Wayne Tucker.
- Grand Quaestor The Grand Quaestor is the International Treasurer of Sigma Chi. He is responsible for Fraternities funds and financial regulations. He issues and signs all warrants for the payment of money and must report to the Grand Chapter and Grand Council. He serves as a member of the Executive Committee. The current Grand Quaestor is Dennis Santoli.
- Grand Tribune The Grand Tribune is the International spiritual leader and fellowship advisor of Sigma Chi. The current Grand Tribune is Rev. Francis "Skip" Flynn (Miami, FL '67).
- Grand Historian The Grand Historian is the International Secretary of Sigma Chi. He compiles all historical information about Sigma Chi and is responsible for maintaining the archives and documents of the Fraternity. The current Grand Historian is Dr. Bill Fleming.
- Grand Trustees The fifteen elected members of the Board of Grand Trustees function as liaisons and mentors for chapter house corporations to assist in legal issues, corporate governance, facility maintenance and renovation planning, fundraising, generating volunteers and other relevant issues.
- Grand Praetors (pronounced Pray-ters)- There is one Grand Praetor for each province and is elected at each Grand Chapter. They are required to visit each chapter in their province at least once every year as well as maintain a general knowledge of each chapters condition. The Grand Praetors are known officially as the "Praetorial College." At the Grand Chapter a Dean of the Praetorial College is elected. The current Dean of the Praetorial College is Dan Matthewson
Grand Chapter is the supreme legislative body
of Sigma Chi and convenes every two years on odd numbered years. It is composed of one
delegate from each active undergraduate chapter and alumni chapter, the Grand Consul and Past Grand Consuls, each being entitled to one vote. The Grand Chapter elects the officers of the Fraternity as well as alter or amend the Constitution, Statutes, and Executive Committee Regulations. It may grant or revoke charters as well as discipline any chapter, officer or member. The most recent Sigma Chi Grand Chapter was held in San Jose, CA
in June 2007. The next Grand Chapter is scheduled to be held in Charleston, SC
July 2-5 2009.
The Grand Council meets every year when no Grand Chapter is held. The Grand Council consists of the Grand Officers, Past Grand Consuls, members of the Executive Committee, Grand Trustees, Grand Praetors, members of the Leadership Training Board and one undergraduate from each province. It may amend
the Statutes or Executive Committee Regulations. The 2008 Grand Council was held in Skokie, Illinois.
The Executive Committee
The Executive Committee meets at least four times a year. The Executive Committee consists of 11 members; Grand Consul, Grand Pro Consul, Grand Quaester, the immediate Past Grand Consul, a Grand Trustee elected by the Board of Grand Trustees, a Grand Praetor elected by the Praetorial College, one alumnus member-at-large, two undergraduate representatives elected by the undergraduate delegates from each chapter, and the two most recent International Balfour Award winners. The committee regulates the budget and expenditures as well as assign duties to the International Headquarters staff. The current Executive Committee is composed of Grand Consul Robert H.W. Jones, Grand Pro Consul L. Wayne Tucker, Grand Quaestor Denis Santoli, Past Grand Consul Keith Krach, Grand Trustee Tommy Geddings, Grand Praetor Garnett Haubelt, Alumnus Rep Mike Greenberg, 2006 Balfour Award Winner Jon Meinen, 2007 Balfour Award Winner Eli Snider, and Undergraduate Representatives Grant Mills and Brian Powell.
The Sigma Chi Foundation is a charitable and educational tax-exempt organization, separate and independent from the Fraternity, whose express purpose is to serve as an educational funding resource for the undergraduate and graduate student members of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Through leadership initiatives such as Horizons, the Balfour Leadership Training Workshop, the Balfour Fellowship and the Cornerstone Mentor Program, the Sigma Chi Foundation is preparing our young men to be the value-centered leaders to guide us in the 21st century.
A Board of Governors of 18 members, headed by Chairman Chuck Watson and Vice Chairman James K. Morris, guide the Foundation. The Foundation president and CEO, former NASA astronaut Greg Harbaugh, is the Foundation's administrative officer based at the Peterson International Headquarters in Evanston, Ill.
Balfour Leadership Training Workshop
The Balfour Leadership Training Workshop is a program designed to improve the quality of leadership in the Fraternity. Each August, leaders from Sigma Chi's undergraduate chapters spend four days on a college campus, immersed in presentations, discussions, and problem solving sessions about chapter operations and other issues that affect a chapter's viability.
Each year The Leadership Training Board, assisted by the fraternity's Director of Education, meets twice to discuss the previous workshop and plan the next one. The workshop focuses on nine specific aspects of chapter life: Consuls, Pro Consuls, Quaestors, Magisters, Recruitment Chairmen, Centurians, and Emerging Leaders for undergraduates; Chapter Advisors and Mentors are sessions for alumni members. The annual turnout is approximately 1,300 brothers making it the largest leadership training session in the Greek-letter world. In the summer of 2007, the Balfour Leadership Training Workshop was held at the University of Missouri where the Xi Xi Chapter of Sigma Chi was re-installed in front of more than 1000 undergrads and alumni. This is the largest fraternity initiation or installation on record in the Greek world today.
The first workshop was held at Bowling Green State University from August 31 to September 3, 1947. 215 delegates attended the workshop representing 82 of the 108 active chapters at the time. The workshop has been held at 19 different campuses including Ball State University, University of Nebraska, and University of Missouri. In 1955 the workshop was not held to avoid interference with the Centennial Grand Chapter. In 1997 the Balfour Foundation voted to make an annual grant of $200,000 for the educational elements of the workshop.
Horizons is a leadership program specifically created for Sigma Chi underclassmen who are eager and willing to improve themselves and their world. During the sessions of Horizons held each summer in Snowbird
, undergraduates experience a six-day immersion in whole-brained learning that engages both mind and body through team-based exercises and personal reflection. The program, initially funded by Bob McNair
, owner of the Houston Texans, runs completely free of charge to its undergraduate participants.
Horizons focuses on three aspects of leadership:
- How leadership is directly linked to values and character,
- How to incorporate high-minded values into a lifelong practice of leadership,
- How to discover and utilize your full potential.
The Cornerstone program is designed to provide alumni leaders with the tools they need to efficiently support undergraduate chapters. This mentorship program encourages alumni participation and growth at undergraduate chapters, Cornerstone aims to bring professionally-trained mentors to every Sigma Chi chapter. Mentors assist undergraduates by increasing leadership training and improving academic performance and general operations. Cornerstone mentors have an unequivocal commitment to the ideals of Sigma Chi, willingness to be a role model and accessibility and availability to the chapter and its members. Through the support of Jesse R. "Bob" Stone, three short Building On Our Brotherhood
films directed by Christopher Lastrapes were produced about the Cornerstone Program.
Membership in Sigma Chi involves both service-oriented
activities as well as social bonding
for its members. Sigma Chi's suggested beneficiaries for chapter community service projects are the Children's Miracle Network
and the Huntsman Cancer Institute
. Since 1992 Sigma Chi chapters have raised more than $4.2 million dollars for area CMN hospitals and devoted thousands of hours of service to CMN affiliates. The Huntsman Cancer Institute was added as another beneficiary in 2005. In the 2005-06 academic year, Sigma Chi raised $473,757.43 for the Children's Miracle Network, as well as $55,244.63 for the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
The tradition of Sigma Chi’s Derby Days began in the spring of 1933 at the Alpha Beta chapter at the University of California-Berkeley
, under the name “Channingway Derby.” Located on Channing Way, the chapter sponsored an event composed of a series of humorous skits. In the spring of 1935, after receiving reports of the Channingway Derby, Beta Sigma chapter at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville
made plans for a similar event. But instead of presenting skits, the event was planned around an all-day track and field competition between the pledge classes of the nine sororities at Tennessee. More than 1,000 people were in attendance on November 1
to witness the first Derby involving campus sororities. On that day four Sigma Chis from the Delta chapter at the University of Georgia
were visiting Knoxville
and witnessed the event. The brothers took the idea back to their campus and named their production “Sigma Chi Derby.” During the 1960s, Derby began to take on the philanthropic approach for which it is now known on many campuses. After the Cleo Wallace Center became Sigma Chi’s Fraternity-wide service project in 1967, many chapters began using Derby as a fundraising event for the Center. Although some amount of charitable work had been done through Derby and similar events prior to that time, the Wallace Center project gave a much-needed boost to the concept of doing something for a needy group outside of campus. At the 1992 Leadership Training Workshop, the Children's Miracle Network
was introduced as Sigma Chi’s suggested beneficiary of proceeds from chapter community service projects. The network, an alliance of 165 hospitals and health care facilities across the United States
, generates funds for the children its associated hospitals serve.
The Peterson Significant Chapter Award
is given to chapters who show a strong performance in all areas of chapter operations
. The award is named after Past Grand Consul J. Dwight Peterson. Each winning chapter receives a large plaque and a contribution from the Sigma Chi Foundation towards the university's counseling
The International Balfour Award is given each year to one graduating senior who excels the most in four criteria; scholarship, character, Fraternity service and campus leadership. Each chapter nominates a graduating senior to run in the province. The Grand Praetor selects the province winner who then runs against all the other nominees from each province. The Grand Pro Consul then heads a committee of five of other officers who select three finalists to be interviewed at the Grand Chapter or Leadership Training Workshop. The winner of the award receives a Balfour Award Key, certificates for himself and his chapter, and free Life Loyal Sig membership.
The Significant Sig Award
The Significant Sig Award is given to a brother who has excelled greatly in their field of study or occupation. The award was introduced in 1935 by Past Grand Consul L.A. Downs at the Grand Chapter banquet in Seattle
. The first seven awards were given to George Ade
, Roy Chapman Andrews
, John T. McCutcheon
, Chase S. Osborn
, James Wallington, F. Dudleigh Vernor, and Samuel P. Cowley.
The Order of Constantine
The Order of Constantine is awarded to alumni members who have devoted long and distinguished service to the Fraternity. To become a candidate the alumnus must be nominated by at least five brothers with at least three being in the Order already. Most alumni selected have contributed more than 20 years of service.
Semi-Century Sig Award
The Semi-Century Sig Award is given to brothers who have been active in the fraternity for 50 years or more.
As a general rule, each undergraduate chapter elects a female associated with the chapter as the chapter sweetheart. At each Grand Chapter, the fraternity chooses a Sweetheart from one chapter to be the International Sweetheart of Sigma Chi for two years. The International Sweetheart Award is presented based on personality, character, campus involvement, Sigma Chi activities, general accomplishments, poise, and grace. Each nominee
must be the sweetheart of an undergraduate chapter for the year nominated and a student at the nominating chapter's university
. The first International Sweetheart of Sigma Chi was Barbara Tanner, a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta
.. The current Sigma Chi International Sweetheart is Rachel Berkey from Harvard College.
Some notable Sigma Chi Sweethearts include Judy Garland and Faye Dunaway.
Military Service Recognition Pin
Recognizes honorably discharged veterans or currently serving members of the United States, Canada, and other nations respective armed forces who are in good standing with the Sigma Chi Fraternity. The pin consists of a single Norman-style sword thrust upward with a small Sigma Chi Norman Shield with a cross embossed upon it placed upon the lower end of the blade just above the hilt and is to be worn on the brother's lapel. The pin is a reminder that the White Cross that we wear is an emblem of sacrifice. The virtues displayed through one's service to their country brings honor to Sigma Chi and all of its members. Brothers may nominate themselves or be nominated by one of their brothers. The pin and its design were suggested by Brother Anthony Dauer, Theta Beta '83, U.S. Navy
(1986-1990). The final design was discussed and voted upon by the members of the Military Sigs group which can be found in the Sigma Chi Friendship Circle web site. This award was first presented at the 2007 Grand Chapter .
Literature of Sigma Chi
The Magazine of Sigma Chi
The Magazine of Sigma Chi, the official quarterly publication for undergraduate and alumni brothers of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, is one of the most highly esteemed magazines in the Greek-letter world. First published in 1881, at the Theta Chapter of Sigma Chi located at Gettysburg College, as The Sigma Chi, the name was later changed to The Sigma Chi Quarterly and then to its current form. The magazine details the achievements of notable brothers, features columns on how to better perform the ideals set forth by the fraternity's founders, and includes updates on most (but not all) chapters of Sigma Chi by that chapter's Chapter Editor. The Sigma Chi Bulletin, the oldest esoteric publication in the Greek-letter community, is published in the Magazine; it contains the minutes from any meetings of the Fraternity's Executive Committee occurring in the quarter it is published. Noted cartoonist Milton Caniff
periodically provided illustrations for the magazine.
The Norman Shield
The Norman Shield, or the Shield
informally, is the reference manual of the Fraternity. It is intended to be a "well of knowledge during pledgeship" and for active membership. The current edition is its 42nd, dated for the years 2007-09.
Article II of the Constitution
states "The purpose of this fraternity shall be to cultivate and maintain the high ideals of friendship, justice and learning upon which Sigma Chi was founded."
The Jordan Standard
The confidence of the Founders of Sigma Chi was based upon a belief that the principles which they professed and the ideal of the Fraternity which they sought were but imperfectly realized in the organizations by which they were surrounded.
The standard with which the fraternity started was declared by Isaac M. Jordan to be that of admitting no man to membership in Sigma Chi who is not believed to be:
A Man of Good Character.......
A Student of Fair Ability.......
With Ambitious Purposes.......
A Congenial Disposition.......
Possessed of Good Morals.......
Having a High Sense of Honor and
A Deep Sense of Personal Responsibility.
-Founder Isaac M. Jordan addressed the 15th Grand Chapter in 1884, and his speech provided the basis for the current Jordan Standard.
Sigma Chi Grace
Our Father, we thank Thee for Thy many blessings. Keep us from harm. May the White Cross guide us and teach us to be true to each other, ourselves, and Thee. Amen.
The Spirit of Sigma Chi
The Spirit of Sigma Chi, as conceived by the Founders more than 150 years ago yet visible and alive today, is based on the theory that...
...Friendship among members, sharing a common belief in an ideal,...
...and possessing different temperaments, talents, and convictions...
...is superior to friendship among members having the same temperaments, talents, and convictions; and that...
...Genuine friendship can be maintained without surrendering the principle of individuality or sacrificing one's personal judgment.
The Spirit of Sigma Chi was written by the Fraternity to honor and pay homage to the beliefs of Franklin Howard Scobey who believed strongly in the ideal that friendship among members of different temperaments, talents and convictions is superior to friendship among those who are all similar.
I might be forced to admit that there is some similarity between the ideals of Sigma Chi and those of other fraternities but—
I will not share the beautiful and the symbolic supremacy of the White Cross of Sigma Chi with any other badge in the Greek World.
The badge of my Fraternity is a cross, a sign and a symbol known to all the world, uplifting Him of whom our badge reminds us.
It is not a shield of timid defense nor a drawn sword of oppressive aggression nor an arrow swift and sure on its mission of death.
It is not a diamond so rich and so rare as to have no part in the common crowd nor a crescent pale and incomplete nor a star shining with a borrowed ray.
It is not a lamp whose feeble flame is extinguished by the slightest gust of wind that blows; nor a simple monogram of mysterious Greek letters presuming to reveal some hidden meaning.
But a cross with its base planted in the common clay of earth; its arms outstretched to all the world and its head lifted heavenward.
It is a White Cross, suggesting purity. As any pure white surface reflects all the rays of light without the absorption of any, so the White Cross of Sigma Chi reflects its ideals unselfishly to all Mankind.
- W. Henry McLean, DePauw University, Class of 1910
The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi
As of 2007, Sigma Chi has 218,493 living brothers and 222 active undergraduate chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. Since 1855, Sigma Chi has initiated more than 260,000 men.
As of 2007, Sigma Chi has 149 alumni chapters around the world.
Sept 27th 2007 Sigma Chi announced a relationship with Chapter Communications to create a new, attractive and user-friendly website for each Sigma Chi Alumni Chapter. The new websites allow members to easily update and manage content. Private Internet communication features make it easy for each alumnus to communicate among their own chapter’s members, other alumnus, participating undergraduate members, and the Sigma Chi International Fraternity. Chapter Communications technology allows information and news to be shared among all Sigma Chi websites in real time. This could be a huge step by helping Sigma Chi grow in the internet age. The central Alumni website can be found at http://www.alumnisigmachi.org/ along with a list of participating chapters
- Carlson, Douglas Richard (1990). "History of the Sigma Chi Fraternity: 1955–1985". The Sigma Chi Fraternity.