Sigma Nu’s past is a proud and colorful one. Founded by three cadets at the Virginia Military Institute in a period of civil strife known as the Reconstruction, Sigma Nu represented a radical departure from the times. The system of physical abuse and hazing of underclassmen at VMI led to James Frank Hopkins, Greenfield Quarles, and James McIlvaine Riley to form the “Legion of Honor” which soon became Sigma Nu Fraternity. So, amidst a backdrop of turmoil, North America’s first “Honor” fraternity was established.
THE FOUNDING OF BETA TAU
As Recorded in the 1896 edition of The Delta
"On April 15, 1895, the Glee, Mandolin, and Guitar Clubs of the University of North Carolina, gave their annual concert in the Academy of Music at Raleigh, N. C. Taking advantage of this, several members of Psi Chapter ran down to Raleigh and, on the night of the 15th, in a private parlor of the Park Hotel, instituted what is to be known for all time as Beta Tau Chapter of the Fraternity of Sigma Nu. The following seven men were instituted as charter members: Sydenham Brevard Alexander, Thomas Winslow Alexander, Thomas Martin Ashe, William Kearney Davis Jr., John Blakeley Howard, Charles Bolling Holladay, and Charles Pearson."
Sigma Nu Celebrates its 150th Year
Well into the Fraternity's second century, Sigma Nu continued its dramatic growth. Today, the number of initiates is nearly 200,000; the number of chapters approaching 250. Many of the Fraternity's chapters have initiated more than 1,000 members, with a large number topping 1,500 and several exceeding 2,000.
Among the many significant achievements during the past decade has been the additon of adjacent properties in Lexington, Virginia, known as the Ethical Leadership Center, owned by the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation, Inc. Particularly noteworthy is Sigma Nu's interfraternity leadership in risk reduction and risk management matters followed by the introduction of its unique LEAD Program, one of the most meaningful educational initiatives ever undertaken by a college fraternity.