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The Founding of Sigma Chi at Miami University Oxford, Ohio

Fittingly, Sigma Chi was born out of a matter of principle. It was the autumn of 1854 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. One of the 12 members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter on the campus looked for the support of his brothers in his quest to be elected to the school’s literary societies, the Eurodelphian. He might have assumed a promising result, given that the majority of men in his DKE chapter were also members of the Eurodelphian. But four of his brothers declined to cast votes for him in the literary society’s election, instead supporting another Miami student whom they believed possessed superior poetic talents.

THE SIGMA CHI Fraternity was founded at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, on June 28, 1855, by Thomas Cowan Bell, James Parks Caldwell, Daniel William Cooper, Isaac M. Jordan, William Lewis Lockwood, Benjamin Piatt Runkle, and Franklin Howard Scobey .1 The university was at that time at the height of its period of greatest influence prior to the twelve years’ suspension of its activities following the year 1873. Holding the educational leadership of the state of Ohio, and the deserved favor of a much wider area, some two hundred students annually thronged its halls. The college fraternity system had originated as Phi Beta. Kappa at the~ College of William and Mary. As organized in its general, modern form at Union College in 1825 and later at Hamilton, it had found its first western field in Miami University. To the latter, in 1835, came Alpha Delta Phi, the fourth college fraternity in point of age, and the first to extend into the early West. At Miami; the system was destined to attain a noteworthy development. In this new and fertile soil, Beta Theta Pi had its origin in 1839. Phi Delta Theta was established in 1848. Indirectly an outgrowth of the Phi Delta Theta organization, the Kappa chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon was chartered on, March 8, 1852.

The working fraternal conceptions of Sigma Chi Fraternity have long been identified with the word’s friendship, justice and learning. These three elements were the basic ideals our Founders used in forming the foundation of Sigma Chi.