Sigma Nu fraternity was founded in 1869 by three cadets at Virginia Military Institute as a stand against the hazing they saw taking place against lower classmen by the upper classmen of the school. James Frank Hopkins, Judge Greenfield Quarles and James McIlvaine Riley were unwilling to accept any amount of hazing, although the school allowed it. They formed Sigma Nu fraternity as one way to completely eliminate hazing from the campus. Sigma Nu actually began in October of 1868, but the founders kept it a secret until January 1, 1869, which is the accepted official birth date of the fraternity.
After the massive destruction of the Civil War, the founders believed it was time to end all abuses and abide in peace and contentment. The fraternity quickly grew in numbers, having 51 members at the time of the 1869 commencement ceremony. After that, the fraternity expanded into other universities and continued its growth at a steady rate. In November of 1915 the first headquarters of Sigma Nu were opened in Indianapolis, Indiana. During the 1950s and 1960s, Sigma Nu faced requests from chapters wanting to allow members that were not Christians or Caucasian. The founding documents for Sigma Nu had specifically barred non-whites and Jews from being members of the fraternity. Many southern chapters threatened to leave if those specifications were changed. As Civil Rights progressed, Sigma Nu changed to become more inclusive.
The official philanthropies of the Sigma Nu fraternity are Habitat for Humanity, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Character Counts!.
"Excelling with Honor"
- Sigma Nu colors are gold, black and white
- Sigma Nu symbol is the serpent
- Sigma Nu flower is the white rose
- Current headquarters is located in Lexington, Virginia
- The centennial celebration of Sigma Nu included pilgrimages to the founders’ gravesites
- The Sigma Nu Educational Foundation was created to help members with financial aid and development of the LEAD program (leadership, ethics, achievement and development)
- Bob Barker (The Price is Right former host)
- Eli Manning (NFL Quarterback)
- Pat Riley (NBA Coach)
- Archie Manning (Former NFL Quarterback)
- Tom Johnson (CNN President)
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