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This article is about the student fraternity of the United States. For the student fraternity of the Philippines, see Kappa Sigma (Philippines).
Kappa Sigma


Open Motto: Bononia Docet (Bologna Teaches)
Nickname: Kappa Sig

The Crest

Founded: December 10, 1869 (1869-12-10) (age 140)

University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA

Founding Fathers:
  • William Grigsby McCormick
  • George Miles Arnold
  • John Covert Boyd
  • Edmund Law Rogers Jr.
  • Frank Courtney Nicodemus

No. of Total Initiates

Approx. 245,000

No. of Undergraduates

Approx. 12,900

No. of Living Alumni

Approx. 188,500

No. of Total Chapters


No. of Current Chapters


No. of Current Colonies


Official Colors: Scarlet, White, and Emerald Green
Official Flower: Lily of the Valley
Official Magazine" The Caduceus
Motto A.E.K.D.B.

ΚΣ (Kappa Sigma) is an international fraternity with currently 235 active chapters and 32 colonies in North America. There have been more than 245,000 initiates, of which more than 188,000 are living and more than 12,900 are undergraduates. It is currently the leader of all American fraternities in terms of pledges and new initiates per year, service hours, and philanthropic donations.[3] It has the oldest continuous endowment fund which has donated $4.5 million to undergrads since its inception in 1919.




Traditional founding

The Kappa Sigma Fraternity traces its origins back to Bologna, Italy in 1400. The University of Bologna was one of Europe's preeminent universities attracting students from all over the continent. According to the traditional account, the corrupt governor of Bologna, and one-time pirate and later papal usurper Baldassare Cossa took advantage of the students by sending his men to assault and rob them; this motivated one of the university's scholars Manuel Chrysoloras to found a secret society of students beginning with five of his most devoted disciples, for mutual protection against Cossa.[4]

In order to protect their ranks from betrayal and to communicate covertly, the students used secret words and signs. These forms and rituals became the basis of their organization. It embodied their ideals and allowed for both the safety of their members and the strong unity of the society. The society slowly grew to large numbers, taking in those students who desired the protection it could offer. With a strong foundation in the loyalty and quality of its members, the order grew into a strong organization and spread to other continental universities throughout much of the Renaissance.

Picture of an Italian wine jug, found amongst a 14-15th century pottery collection, bearing a poem and the letters[4]

American founding

On December 10, 1869, five students at the University of Virginia met in 46 East Lawn and founded the Kappa Sigma Fraternity in America. William Grigsby McCormick, George Miles Arnold, John Covert Boyd, Edmund Law Rogers and Frank Courtney Nicodemus later become known as the Five Friends and Brothers. They took what they claimed as the traditions of the ancient order in Bologna and created a fraternity that aimed to continue in its noble cause, that of unending brotherhood.

In that same year, the Five Friends and Brothers searched for others who would complement their diverse personalities. They initiated two more in that first year, Samuel Isham North and John Edward Semmes. The following year, two of the Five Friends and Brothers left the University, as did Semmes, leaving its future in the hands of Brothers Arnold, Boyd, Rogers and North. They initiated three more into the order that year. On March 18, 1871 the entire active membership, consisting of seven, met to initiate William Cornelius Bowen. They did not realize at the time that the work of this Saturday night would ensure the future of the fraternity. Bowen was the only member to return to the University the following year, and it was placed in his hands to prevent the work of the Five Friends and Brothers from fading away.

Bowen worked quickly the following year to find prospective members. He, along with his first initiate, Goodwin Williams, began searching for new members who could fulfill the expectations of the founding brothers. Brother Semmes returned to the University that spring, and he discovered that Bowen had added five new brothers to the order.

The next year, 1872, marked a milestone in the history of Kappa Sigma. Three new initiates were welcomed into the brotherhood, including Thomas Wright Strange. The members of the chapter, known now as the Zeta chapter, decided that they wanted one additional member that year. Thomas Strange introduced the name of Stephen Alonzo Jackson. He was chosen for initiation into the order in 1872 despite personality conflicts. It cannot be understated the importance of their choice to look beyond their personal conflicts and initiate Jackson as the order would have never had a more influential and dedicated brother.

On an autumn night in 1872, Jackson was initiated into the order. From the moment of his initiation, he began his work as a great leader in the order of Kappa Sigma. He helped in every aspect of the chapter operations, and later became Grand Master of the Zeta chapter at the University of Virginia.

Jackson's contributions to the fraternity stretch far beyond chapter leadership. He was given the nickname, "the Golden-Hearted Virginian." During his membership, he expanded and revised the ritual of Kappa Sigma. He created the Supreme Executive Committee (SEC), which now serves as the governing body of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity on a national level. Jackson also introduced the idea of a frequent, national convention of all Kappa Sigmas, a practice now continued by the biennial Grand Conclave, and characterized the event as "the finest hour" of Kappa Sigma.

Jackson's vision for the future was summed up in his "Apples of Gold" speech given at the Grand Conclave, 1878. "Why not, my Brothers, since we of today live and cherish the principals of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, throw such a halo around those principles that they may be handed down as a precious heirloom to ages yet unborn? Why not put our apples of gold in pictures of silver? May we not rest contently until the Star and Crescent is the pride of every college and university in the land!"

These innovations in ritual and government helped to transform Kappa Sigma from a small, local fraternity at the University of Virginia into the international fraternity it is today. He worked with his chapter and friends at nearby university to establish new chapters of the growing order as well as traveling the nation to find more locations worthy to host a chapter. Jackson's passion for the success of the fraternity still influences its actions to this day. Evidence of his work can be seen in the many milestones that Kappa Sigma has reached to this day. His ideals for recruitment and expansion can be seen in the 300+ campuses that have hosted chapters of the order and the more than 250,000 men who have been initiated into the order since its conception.

46 East Lawn residence at the University of Virginia, site of the founding of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity

Recent history

In 1965, Kappa Sigma bought an estate to be the new perpetual home for the fraternity. In 1966, the SEC at the time formed Kappa Sigma Inc, claimed it to be in charge of the estate, and began to solicit for donations from brothers. In 1967, Kappa Sigma Inc changed its name to the Kappa Sigma Memorial Fund and filed to be a foundation for tax purposes. This made two foundations for the Kappa Sigma Fraternity (the other being The Kappa Sigma Endowment Fund). During this time the KSMF changed the laws of the organization instating life terms for the board and becoming a 501c3 tax-deductible organization. By the 1990s the Fraternity and KSMF grew apart due to a disagreement over a legal opinion requiring a lease agreement for the Fraternity's use of the KSMF-owned headquarters property. The disagreements culminated in a lawsuit filed in 2001 wherein the Kappa Sigma Fraternity asserted claim to the property which the KSMF had originally purchased. The case eventually reached the Virginia Supreme Court, where the justices ruled that, while there was some merit to the Fraternity's case, the Fraternity had filed suit nearly two decades past the time required by the statute of limitations. Since the ruling the Kappa Sigma Fraternity began construction and fundraising of $6 million for a new headquarters in the Spring of 2005.[5] At the 66th Conclave, the Kappa Sigma Endowment Fund was declared to be the only official educational foundation of the fraternity.

In 2002, along with Phi Sigma Kappa and Phi Delta Theta, Kappa Sigma ended its involvement in the North-American Interfraternity Conference due to disenchantment with the strategic direction of the organization. [6]

Kappa Sigma's new international headquarters had its grand opening on June 2, 2007.

In fall of the 2007 academic year, Kappa Sigma broke the record for the fourth year in a row for new pledges (4,248).[7]. The grand total for the 07-08 academic year was 6,770 pledges.[8] 30 new chapters were also established in that academic year putting Kappa Sigma as the third largest fraternity in terms of active campus locations.

In the 2008-2009 academic year, Kappa Sigma pledged 7,036 men and in the 2007-2009 biennium Kappa Sigma initiated 9,987 men, a growth rate of 15% over the previous biennium (2005-07). Kappa Sigma has now enjoyed six consecutive years of continuous growth."

Kappa Sigma Fraternity for the seventh consecutive semester recruited the most new members of any male collegiate Greek letter social fraternity in the world. Adding a record 5,553 pledges this fall, the Fraternity’s strong emphasis on Fellowship, Scholarship, Leadership and Service have helped Kappa Sigma perennially rank Number One as the Most Preferred Fraternity on college campuses.


The Star and Crescent

Kappa Sigmas are taught to live their lives by the Star and Crescent, which are the symbols of the Fraternity that make up the official badge:

"The Star and Crescent shall not be worn by every man, but only by him who is worthy to wear it. He must be a gentleman... a man of honor and courage... a man of zeal, yet humble... an intelligent man...a man of truth... one who tempers action with wisdom and, above all else, one who walks in the light of God."[9]

The Star and Crescent is also used as part of the guidelines behind Kappa Sigma's strict no-tolerance anti-hazing policy. The Fraternity takes all allegations of hazing very seriously and routinely pulls charters from guilty chapters which can be as old as 130 years.

They also follow the four pillars of the Fraternity: Fellowship, Leadership, Scholarship, and Service.


A seven to nine member Executive Committee (EC) leads each chapter and colony. These officers consist of the Grand Master (President), Grand Procurator (First Vice President), Grand Master of Ceremonies (Second Vice President), Grand Scribe (Secretary), Grand Treasurer, and two Guards (Sergeants-At-Arms). In addition, a chapter or colony can also have an Assistant Grand Scribe and Assistant Grand Treasurer to assist in administrative duties if necessary. Each chapter and colony also has a number of committee chairs (the number varies by chapter) to plan chapter events. These committee chairs usually are overseen by the Grand Procurator.

An Alumnus Adviser (an AA) and up to several Assistant Alumnus Advisers (AAA), provide advice and assistance to each undergraduate chapter and colony. Above them are District Grand Masters (DGM) and Assistant District Grand Masters (ADGM) who serve as liaisons between the undergraduate chapters and colonies and the Supreme Executive Committee. There are over sixty districts covering America and Canada divided into five Areas. Typically, each district comprises all of the Kappa Sigma chapters and colonies in a State or Province, or a portion of a State or Province.

At the international level, the Supreme Executive Council (SEC) sets policy for the fraternity, disciplines chapters, and approves the formation of colonies and chapter. The SEC consists of the Worthy Grand Master (WGM), the Worthy Grand Procurator (WGP), the Worthy Grand Master of Ceremonies (WGMC), the Worthy Grand Scribe (WGS), and the Worthy Grand Treasurer (WGT). The WGM, WGP and the WGMC each serve a two-year term, while the WGS and WGT each serve a four-year term with either the WGS or the WGT elected along with the other officers at the biennial Grand Conclave.

There also exists several committees under the SEC. The UAC which is made of undergrads representing the five areas and are present at all SEC meetings. Their chief function is to provide input to the SEC from an undergrad perspective. There is also a Ritual commission made up of several alumni brothers who travel around to the various chapters to assist them with Ritual work or help install chapters or colonies. Lastly there are Area Recruitment Managers (ARM) who are in charge of recruitment goals and provide assistance to struggling chapters in their respective area.

There is a professional administrative staff that manages the day-to-day operations the Fraternity at the international headquarters in Charlottesville.

Kappa Sigma Endowment Fund

Official Logo of the Endowment Fund

In 1919, the Kappa Sigma Endowment Fund was established "to support the charitable and beneficent purposes of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity".[10] The Endowment Fund's first donors contributed $101 as the foundation for the fund's assets. Currently, the Endowment Fund has two primary recognition levels for donors, the One of Jackson's Men program - for donors who contributed $1000 or more to the Endowment Fund, and the Heritage Society for planned gift donors.

The Endowment Fund assists with the educational and leadership programming at each Conclave and Leadership Conference. In addition, each year, the Endowment Fund awards $250,000 in scholarships to undergraduate members. These Scholarship and Leadership Awards are presented on Founders' Day (December 10). To date, the Endowment Fund has contributed over $4.5 million in scholarships since 1948.

Currently, the Endowment Fund, along with the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, holds in trust for the members of Kappa Sigma, the fraternity's headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Endowment Fund sponsors leadership conferences each year held in conjunction with Kappa Sigma's biennial Conclave and Regional Leadership Conferences. In 2009, the 67th Grand Conclave and Leadership Conference was held in San Antonio, TX.

Philanthropic Interests

A Greater Cause

Currently Kappa Sigma leads the Greek world in terms of donations and service hours as part of the "Greater Cause" program. Every chapter organizes its own charitable events, usually donating the proceeds to a local charity. Some of the bigger events that local chapters organize are the "Catch-A-Dream Charity Classic Football Game" organized by the Delta-Chi Chapter at Mississippi State University, and the "Apple Cup Run," jointly organized by the Beta-Psi Chapter at the University of Washington and the Gamma-Mu Chapter at Washington State University. Or, the "Governor's Cup Ball Run," jointly organized by the Mu-Eta Chapter at the University of Louisville and the Beta-Nu Chapter at the University of Kentucky, who in 2010 will hold its 16th Annual Run. The Chi-Omega chapter at the University of South Carolina raises money annually for the Ray Tanner Foundation, which benefits economically and medically disadvantaged children in South Carolina, and the Columbia metropolitan area. The Theta-Theta chapter at Western Kentucky University donates all their proceeds to Toys for Tots from "Christmas Week," which is held right before the end of the fall semester.

During the 66th Grand Conclave the Fraternity announced a new charity entitled the "Kappa Sigma Fraternity Military Heroes Campaign." The effort focuses service and donations towards soldiers disabled or killed in the line of duty. The American chapters raise money for the Fisher House Foundation where as the Canadian Chapters raise money for either the Fisher House Foundation or one of two other approved Canadian Armed Forces organizations.

Chapter list

Notable Members


External links


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