Sigma Chi

From Academic Kids

Template:Sigma Chi infobox

Sigma Chi is one of the largest international all-male college social fraternity, with chapters at universities in Canada and the United States. Sigma Chi was founded in 1855 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio when members split from Delta Kappa Epsilon. Sigma Chi had seven founding members: Benjamin Piatt Runkle, Thomas Cowan Bell, William Lewis Lockwood, Daniel William Cooper, Franklin Howard Scobey, James Parks Caldwell, and Isaac M. Jordan. Sigma Chi is a part of the Miami triad, which includes Beta Theta Pi, Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Chi.

The fraternity's official colors are blue and old gold, and its symbol is a white cross with emblems on its arms: Crossed keys on the top arm, an eagle's head on the left arm, seven gold stars and a pair of clasped hands on the bottom arm, and a scroll on the left arm. In the center of the cross in gold and on a black background are the symbols for the Greek letters sigma and chi. The left and right arms are connected to the upper arm by five-linked gold chains.

Membership in Sigma Chi involves both service-oriented activities as well as social bonding for its members. Sigma Chi's suggested benificiary for chapter community service projects is the Children's Miracle Network. Since 1992 Sigma Chi chapters have raised nearly $3,000,000 for area CMN hospitals and devoted thousands of hours of service to CMN affiliates.

The fundamental purpose of this fraternity to promote the concepts of Friendship, Justice and Learning within its membership.


The Split from Delta Kappa Epsilon

The founding of Sigma Chi came as the result of a disagreement over who would be named Poet in the Erodelphian Literary Society of old Miami University in Ohio.

Several members of Miami University's Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter 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 (a "Deke") wanted the position. He was supported by five of his brothers, but four others (Caldewell, Jordan, Runkle, and Scobey) felt that he lacked poetic talent. These men instead chose to give their support to another man who was not a Deke. Bell and Cooper were not members of Erodelphian, but their support for the dissenting four was unequivocal.

In 1854 Delta Kappa Epsilon at Miami University had 12 members, so the disagreement over who to support as Poet evenly divided the chapter. 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 of 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 Deke 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 any man's tool. And that, sir," addressing Millikin, "is my answer!" Runkle stalked from the room and his five brothers followed. According to legend, after the meeting Runkle poetically and rhetorically asked Scobey, "How high does the eagle fly?" in reference to where they would go following their resignation from Deke. Scobey is said to have answered, "Not as high as the cross of Sigma Chi". And thus the legend of Sigma Chi was born.

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