Sunday, May 24, 2015

Introduction to Kappa Sigma

"Not for a day or an hour or a college term only- but for life."

During my Freshman and Sophomore years of College I was involved in the Kappa Rho Chapter of Kappa Sigma where I served in that time as Grand Treasurer and House Manager. Military duty took me away from college, but upon my return I stepped up and took over as Grand Procurator of my Chapter, which is the officer second only to the Grand Master of the Chapter and who acts as the judicial officer of the Chapter. By the time I had taken up this position the Chapter was in poor decline due to poor decisions made by the members of the Chapter, and by September 2012 the Chapter was closed down. While in DC I was informed that some of the Alumni of my Chapter are working with some undergraduates at restarting the Chapter. I plan on giving assistance where I can. Of all of my posts on this site, I have only talked about Kappa Sigma a couple times.

The Kappa Sigma fraternity was founded in America on December 10th, 1869, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville at 46 East Lawn in the room William Grigsby McCormick, one of the five founders commonly called "The Five Friends and Brothers". Membership is open to all collegiate males who profess a belief in God, though adherence to a specific religion is not required. The mission of the fraternity is to enhance the educational experience of the student and education mission of that insitution, to promote Brotherhood, to contribute to personal development, to promote ethical behavior and proper decision-making, and to encourage service to our fellow man and community. Our membership rosters have included Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Presidential canddiates, Governors, Judges and Justices, entertainers, actors, businessman, journalists, academics, athletes, and members of the Armed Services

While the seeds and bonds of the fraternity were established by the Five Friends and Brothers (William Grigsby McCormick, George Miles Arnold, Frank Courtney Nicodemus, John Covert Boyd, and Edmund Law Rogers), the ritual was solidified by the Golden Hearted Virginian, Stephen Alonzo Jackson. He was also instrumental in nationalizing the order, writing the first Constitution, and becoming the first Worthy Grand Master. During the 2nd Grand Conclave he gave a speech on the expansion of the order, an excerpt of which has been immortalized by the Brothers of this fraternity:
“Why not, my Brothers, since we of today live and cherish the principles 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 contentedly until the Star and Crescent is the pride of every college and university in the land!”
The legendary founding of Kappa Sigma traces back to Bologna, Italy, the famous City of Letters, in the year 1400 where Kappa Sigma was said to be founded at the University of Bologna by Manuel Chrysoloras, a Greek scholar. The order was founded to protect students from assaults by the men following the corrupt governor, Baldassare Cossa, who would become John XXIII during the Great Schism of the Catholic Church. The ritual of Kappa Sigma surrounds this central myth. Kappa Sigma was said to exist in Europe for the next several centuries, but dwindled into almost non-existence until Americans in Europe met with some nobles who said, "My colors fade...for want of wearers." To ensure that Chrysoloras' legacy would never fade, the Five Friends and Brothers established in North America.

The badge of a Kappa Sigma is the Star and Crescent which is composed of an inverted pentagram overlaid on top of crescent moon laid sideways. Four of the points of the pentagram divide the crescent into three sections in which are found the following symbols: two crossed keys, a skull and crossbones, and two crossed swords. In the center of the pentagram there is a golden ring with 12 gems going around and alternating between green and red. At the dead center of the golden ring are the Greek letters ΚΣ. As a Pledge you learn and commit to memory many things including the "Star and Crescent":

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.

Brothers of the Kappa Sigma fraternity follow the Four Pillars: Fellowship, Leadership, Scholarship, and Service. By Fellowship, it alludes to the unmatched experience and involvement in the Brotherhood that is Kappa Sigma. By Leadership, the fraternity expects its members to get involved in their communities and take the role of leader. By Scholarship, a member of Kappa Sigma is expected to excel in his academic career, remembering that while at school, his education should be his primary concern as a preparation for their futureBy Service, a Brother is reminded that helping and supporting others should always be his primary duty.

The basic organizational structure is the undergraduate Chapter. Each Chapter is led by an "Executive Committee" consisting of a Grand Master (GM), Grand Procurator (GP), Grand Master of Ceremonies (GMC), Grand Scribe (GS), and Grand Treasurer (GT). The Grand Master is the presiding officer of the Chapter. The Grand Procurator is the second-in-command, but in reality is one of two Vice Presidents in charge of judicial matters. The Grand Master of Ceremonies sits as the second Vice President and is in charge of the various ceremonies used in Kappa Sigma as well as the education programs. The Grand Scribe is likened unto the Secretary and holds similar administrative duties, just as the Grand Treasurer is the financial officer of the Chapter. These officers are elected by the Brothers on an annual basis. Beneath the Executive Committee there are a number of committees who assist the officers in the dispatch of their duties and the operations of the Chapter.

At the international level stands the Supreme Executive Council, or SEC, who sets the policies for the entire fraternity, disciplines chapters when needed, and approves the formation of chapters/colonies. The officers of the SEC are like those at the undergraduate level with the appellation of "Worthy" attached to it. They are: Worthy Grand Master (WGM), Worthy Grand Procurator (WGP), Worthy Grand Master of Ceremonies (WGMC), Worthy Grand Scribe (WGS), and Worthy Grand Treasurer (WGT). The first three officers serve for 2-year terms while the Worthy Grand Scribe and Worthy Grand Treasurer serve for 4-years terms, and all are elected at the biennial Grand Conclave. The SEC has divided North America into 5-areas or regions and those into districts, 60 in total. Each district is overseen by a District Grand Masters (DGM) and a number of Assistant District Grand Masters (ADGM) who serve as liaisons between the undergraduate chapter and the SEC. An Alumnus Adviser (AA) and a number of Assistant Alumnus Advisers (AAA) who provide advice and guidance to the Chapter; typically there are AAA's to advise the GP, GMC, GT, and GS. These positions are primarily all volutneer, but there is a professional staff who works at the headquarters in Charlottesville, VA. These staff members include an Executive Director, program directors, administrative assistants, and area recruitment managers.

Some of the programs ran by Kappa Sigma are "A Greater Cause" which is designed to promote community service, the Champion Quest program which is a recruitment initiative which pursues "Jackson's Dream", Brothers in Action program which is a membership development program by emphasizing the Four Pillars, the Military Heroes Campaign which focuses on service and donations towards disabled soldiers and veterans, and the Kappa Sigma Endowment Fund which was established "to support the charitable and beneficent purposes of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity".

Today, Kappa Sigma sits as one of the large international fraternites with currently 316 active chapters and colonies in North America. I am proud to be a member of such a venerable institution and my involvement only enhanced my experience as an undergraduate at Boise State University.


1. History. n.d. 

2. Kappa Sigma. n.d. 

3. Kappa Sigma History. n.d.

4. Who We Are. n.d.

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