Brief History of Sigma Nu and Gamma Gamma’s “Original 17”
Updated by Nick Moroz
Sigma Nu fraternity has an elaborate traditional history, the fraternity was founded at the Virginia Military Institute in 1869, and James Hopkins, Greenfield Quarles, and James Riley were the three founding fathers of Sigma Nu fraternity. These founding fathers defied the whole system of the Virginia Military Institute, the institute supported the hazing that secret societies would do to the new members (new Cadets). So these founding fathers met secretly and founded sigma Nu fraternity a non hazing fraternity that principals are truth, love, and honor. They also set up many other fraternities after the original at Virginia military institute.
Sigma Nu was founded at Albion College in 1895 with the help of Brother Samuel Evan Boys. Boys was a transfer from Kansas State University where he was already a member of Sigma Nu: badge #0007. After he arrived at Albion, he quickly helped stabilize the Sigma Nu colony into the 47th chapter of Sigma Nu, Gamma Gamma. Consequently, Boys is badge number 0001 at Albion College. Albion College soon embraced Sigma Nu as a strong force in community service and fighting fraternal stereotypes associated with hazing. The first black graduate of Albion College, who was also from Albion, was initiated into Sigma Nu. Throughout its stint at Albion College Sigma Nu has been diverse by boasting great athletic talents as well as academic talents. Sigma Nu began in a house that originally stood on Michigan Ave. across from the new science complex. In 1962 Sigma Nu, as well as the other fraternities on campus, signed an agreement with the college that they would live on campus in newly built housing units and rent from the college similarly to the dorms. Today the fraternities are still in these houses.
By the mid 1980’s Sigma Nu had become the strongest Fraternity of the six on Albion’s campus. Sigma Nu peaked at around 120 members in the mid-90’s and their devotion to anti-hazing and Love, Truth, and Honor had become diluted. A few bad recruiting classes and a few poor decisions handling alcohol were all it took to bring down the most powerful student organization on campus. In 1998, after various probationary periods Albion College contacted Sigma Nu Nationals and the Gamma Gamma Charter was taken away as well as the fraternity house. Many of the alumni had lost touch with the chapter and communication with them became non-existent. However, a few brothers from the recruitment class of 1998 decided to restructure the chapter based. They’re known as the “Original 17”, and with the help of Bill Stoffer, perhaps the most influential alumni from the Gamma Gamma chapter ever, began a campaign to reinstate the charter. After colonizing and new recruits, the Gamma Gamma chapter was up to nearly 30 men and petitioned Sigma Nu Nationals to reinstate the charter. That December their wish was granted and Sigma Nu began their climb back to the top of the fraternal ladder.
Today our chapter is extremely proud of what we have accomplished over the recent years. In the international comparison performed by Sigma Nu nationals the Gamma Gamma chapter has placed 5th, 3rd, and 5th in overall achievement in the past three years. This comparison is known as the Pursuit of Excellence and includes every chapter of Sigma Nu, nearly 250. Another notable achievement has been our philanthropy events. Two years ago the Gamma Gamma chapter conducted the first Charity Bowl Game, a basketball game against a rival fraternity on campus. In the first year the chapter raised over $10,000 which tripled the total philanthropy on campus that year and was the largest philanthropy event in Albion’s history. Last year Sigma Nu raised nearly $12,000. Our academic and athletic prowess has also been notable. Last year we had the second highest GPA on campus, a 3.25 which is higher than the all-male average. Last semester we again had the second highest GPA on campus between the fraternities at a 3.31. Athletically we are a diverse house with athletes in Cross-Country, Football, Track, Tennis, and Golf.
Sigma Nu is proud of what we have accomplished so far at Albion College, but we recognize that the best is still to come. Love, Truth, and Honor is the best support system that one could ask for; we hope you want to be a part of that.
Written by: Chris Webster 2/5/04, with the help of Dave Swan and Joe Hinzelmann.