|Founded||January 1, 1869
Virginia Military Institute
|Vision statement||Excelling with Honor|
|Slogan||Love, Honor, Truth|
|Colors||Black White Gold|
|Flower||White Rose (The Classic Five-Petaled, wild, white English Floribunda)|
|Philanthropy||Helping Hand Initiative|
|Members||Over 230,000 collegiate|
|Founding Principles||Love, Truth, Honor, and No Hazing|
|Headquarters||Lexington, Virginia, USA|
Sigma Nu (ΣΝ) is an undergraduate college fraternity that was founded by James Frank Hopkins, Greenfield Quarles and James McIlvaine Riley at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia shortly after Hopkins witnessed what he considered a hazing ritual by upperclassmen at the Virginia Military Institute. Sigma Nu's existence remained secret until the founders publicly announced their new society on January 1, 1869, which is the fraternity's recognized birth date. The fraternity has 279 (active and inactive) chapters and colonies throughout the United States and Canada and has initiated over 227,000 members. Sigma Nu, Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega make up the Lexington Triad.
The fraternity sponsors various programming including ethical leadership development through its LEAD program and philanthropic events through its Helping Hand Initiative. It recruits new members using its Values Based Recruitment method. Sigma Nu prides itself on its anti-hazing principles, upon which the organization was founded and continues to uphold through its anti-hazing initiative. The fraternity's values are summarized as an adherence to the principles of love, honor, and truth. Because of its military heritage, Sigma Nu retains many military trappings in its chapter ranks and traditions, and places importance on the concept of personal honor. In 1945, William Yates (University of Pennsylvania) inspired the formation of the "Sigma Nu Inc., Educational Foundation". Its name was changed to the "Sigma Nu Educational Foundation, Inc." The foundation assists collegiate members with financial aid supplements, and the fraternity in the development of a leadership program.
The founders of Simga Nu, James Frank Hopkins, Greenfield Quarles, and James McIlvaine Riley enrolled in Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1866. Hopkins entered VMI at age 21 and was older than many of the cadets entering the institute. Both Hopkins and Quarles had served in the American Civil War as Confederate soldiers.
At this time, many secret societies were being formed on the VMI campus. In Hopkins third year at VMI, he joined in the Masonic Lodge in Lexington. The masons inspired him to create a similar organization at VMI. Hopkins shared his ideas with Quarles and Riley, and in October of 1868, the three came together on a limestone rock on the edge of the VMI parade ground to form the Legion of Honor. The three founders would go on to bring others into the Legion of Honor over the rest of the year. On January 1, 1869, the founders, along with the rest of the members of the Legion of Honor, held their first official meeting as Sigma Nu.
The first year of Sigma Nu also saw the creation of the Badge, the original Constitution, and the Law. The Badge designed by Hopkins stands mostly unchanged from its original form. The badges were first introduced in the spring of 1869 and were worn with a sky-blue ribbon to notify that there was to be a secret meeting. This led some to think that it was one of the colors of the fraternity, but it was nothing more than a marker. Early members, Edward Arthur and Linton Buck, both wrote the original Constitution and Law, respectively. Some conflict arose because Arthur had been a member of the Honduras Emigrant Society and had included some influences from that organization in the constitution. Linton Buck felt these influences should be removed. His revision became the first Law of Sigma Nu. This first chapter of Sigma Nu chose as its motto nulli secundus, a Latin phrase meaning “second to none.”
There were many efforts in the beginning years to establish chapters at other schools. By 1883, Alpha chapter attempted to establish 11 additional chapters, of which only 3 survived. One of the many factors was the anti-fraternity sentiment during this time period. Kappa chapter established in 1881, at North Georgia College & State University, gave the fraternity an important member, John Alexander Howard. Howard suggested that the fraternity drop the use of roman numerals for chapter designation in favor of using a Greek letter designation. He is also responsible for the creation of ‘The Delta', Sigma Nu’s fraternity magazine. The name, ‘The Delta', originated from the location of the 3 active chapters of Sigma Nu forming a Delta. Howard’s editorials in ‘The Delta’ inspired Isaac P. Robison, founder of Lambda chapter, to propose having a convention for the whole fraternity. On July 10, 1884, Sigma Nu’s first convention was held in the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.
The fraternity had begun debating allowing non-white and Jewish members shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court desegregated schools in 1954. In 1964, following a failed civil rights amendment to the Sigma Nu's constitution, the Dartmouth College chapter seceded from the fraternity in protest. The organization did not allow non-white members until the late 1960s. The Dartmouth chapter rejoined in 1983.
The Grand Chapter of Sigma Nu is a four-day legislative convention where representatives of the Fraternity’s collegiate and alumni chapters and Grand Officers meet to determine new legislation and operational direction of the Fraternity for the next biennium. The Grand Chapter meets every two years.
The Law of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
The Law is a three-part document (Constitution, Statutes and Trial Code), which governs Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. The Law sets membership requirements, standards of conduct, and the framework for the operation of all entities of the Fraternity, including collegiate chapters. The Law is designed to allow for autonomy and self-governance in collegiate chapters. The Law may be amended by the Grand Chapter to accommodate changing needs of Sigma Nu’s membership. The first edition of the Law was formally adopted at Sigma Nu’s first convention in 1884.
The High Council serves as the board of directors of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. and is elected by the Grand Chapter. It serves as the governing arm of the General Fraternity during the period between Grand Chapters. Governance of the High Council is relegated to those duties especially prescribed by The Law. In cases where The Law prescribes no especial duty, the High Council shall act on those situations through interpretation of The Law. There are five roles on the High Council: the Regent, who acts as the national president and chairman of the board of Sigma Nu for a term of two years; the Regent-Elect, who ascends to the role of Regent at the end of the prior Regent's term; the Grand Treasurer, who is responsible for the financial condition of the fraternity; the Vice-Regents, appointed members of the board; and the Collegiate Grand Councilmen, who serve as collegiate representatives to the High Council.
College of Chapters
The Sigma Nu College of Chapters is a three-day training program held annually. College of Chapters is designed for collegiate chapter Commanders, and the program emphasizes chapter management, leadership, core competencies, and networking. The curriculum focuses on best practices and is presented by fraternity staff, alumni volunteers, and advisers.
The LEAD (Leadership, Ethics, Achievement, Development) Program is designed to be a four year educational and development curriculum for its collegiate members. In 1988, Sigma Nu created the LEAD Program. Since its launch in 1988 the Program has been updated twice, once in 1997 and again in 2008. The 2008 updates included the online version of the LEAD Program that currently exists today.
- Sigma Nu About
- Sigma Nu Undergraduate Chapters Listing
- Sigma Nu Strategic Plan
- "A Sigma Nu Cavalcade". The Delta of Sigma Nu (Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.) 116: 2–3. 1999.
- "Developing Ethical Leaders". sigmanu.org.
- "Helping Our Communities". sigmanu.org.
- "Recruiting Our Next Members". sigmanu.org.
- "Anti-Hazing Initiative". sigmanu.org.
- Foundation History
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- "19th Century University of Georgia Presidential Papers". Gilbert-Head. 2010.
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- Scott, p. 143–145
- Silver, William (5 October 1954). "Sigma Nu Vote Shows Large Anti-Bias Gain". Columbia Spectator. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- Sweet, Kimberly (18 December 2002). "Duke frat alumni recall taking anti-segregation stand Sen. Lott's role renews interest in '64 Sigma Nu vote". The Durham Herald Sun.
- Tumulty, Karen (December 12, 2002). "Trent Lott's Segregationist College Days". Time.
- "History". Sigma Nu Dartmouth. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- LEAD: Phase I. Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. Publishing. 2008. pp. 56–57.
- Scott, p. 149
- 2013 College of Chapters General Information
- "The LEAD Program: Embracing Technology for Membership Development". The Delta of Sigma Nu (Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.). Fall 2008: 24–25. 2008.
- Scott, John C; Thomas, Charles Edward (1936). The Story of Sigma Nu (2nd ed.). Indianapolis: Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
- Capps, Randall (1978). Sigma Nu: A Heritage History. Winston-Salem: Hunter Publishing Company. ISBN 0-89459-036-7.