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In the fall of 1854 at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, a disagreement arose between members of the Kappa chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE). Six of the twelve members had become disillusioned with the conformity that was expected of them for political gain, and so they distanced themselves from DKE and set out to build their own organization, one based upon the freedom of its members to have differing viewpoints and opinions, but still remain united in brotherhood. With the help of a seventh man, one never associated with DKE, they worked together over the 1854-1855 academic year to shape this dream into a reality, and on Commencement Day, June 28, 1855, they introduced their Fraternity to the world by wearing, for the very first time, the badge of Sigma Chi.
Since its founding over 150 years ago, Sigma Chi has grown into one of North America’s most recognized fraternal orders, with over 300,000 lifetime initiates, of which 223,000 are living, more than 15,000 undergraduate members, and over 240 chapters across the United States and Canada. With tenacity of its founders, it is understandable that Sigma Chi has attracted the best and brightest, including Sean Payton (NFL Head Coach; New Orleans Saints), Bob Corker (U.S. Senator from Tennessee), Booth Tarkington (Pulitzer Prize winning novelist), Woody Harrelson (Actor), J. Willard Marriott, Jr. (President of Marriott International, and David Letterman (TV Personality & Host of The Late Show with David Letterman). With Brothers like these, it is easy to see why so many men want to wear the Sigma Chi blue and old gold!
One of the most important pillars of life as a Sigma Chi is undoubtedly philanthropy, to which they contribute great time and energy through their partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH). Founded in 1983, the aims of the CMNH are to help as many children as possible by raising funds for children’s hospitals and keep funds in the community in which they were raised to help local children. Since adopting the CMNH as a philanthropy in 1992, Sigma Chis have raised over 6.9 million dollars to help further the goal of treating a variety of illnesses in children, regardless of the family’s ability to pay.
Though it was written more than 150 years ago, there is still a steadfast belief in The Spirit of Sigma Chi 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.” In their high academic achievement, personal growth, and contribution to their communities, the Brothers of Sigma Chi have undoubtedly upheld the founders’ ideals and have taken to heart the motto of their brotherhood, “In This Sign You Shall Conquer.”