Early Beginnings in the City of Letters
Kappa Sigma's history goes as far back as 1400 when a Greek emissay named Manuel Chrysoloras came to Bologna, Italy - referred to by Kappa Sigmas as the City of Letters. At the time the Universiy of Bologna was the most presitgious insitution of higher learning in Europe. However, the city was ruled by a corrupt and unscrupulous governor named Baldassare Cossa. Cossa would send his thugs and thieves to rob the students as they approached the city to seek an educaton. For their mutual protection against the tyrant Cosso, Chrysoloras and his disciples banded together in a secret society. This group of students adoptd various signs, words, and symbols to protect their ranks from betrayal. Their ideals, embododied in a ritual, transformed them from a group of men into a true Brotherhood - the Fellowship of Kappa Sigma.
The American Founding
Tradition holds that Kappa Sigma flourished throughout the Renaissance, spreading to the great univeristies of Europe. But, by the middle of the 19th Century, the Order was barely active. It was time for the tradition established by Chrysoloras to reach America. In the mid-1800s, an American traveler in Europe was told by his noble host, "My colors fade for want of wearers." This led to the trasnmission of the secrets of Kappa Sigma to the young traveler and encouragement to introduce the Order to North America.
In 19th Century America the Univerity of Virginia was considered the premier university in the country. In many ways, it provided an analog to the University of Bologna in the 15th Century. Accordingly, on December 10, 1869, five friends enrlled at the University of Virginia met to draft a consitution and found the Kappa Sigma Fraternity in North America. Adopting the traditions of their Renaissance forbearers at Bologna, the Five Friends and Brothers bound themselves together by an oath and preserved their union with secret work. This Ritual made them Brothers, restoring the luster to the colors long-fading in Europe.
The Kappa Sigma Fraternity Today
Today, Kappa Sigma has more undergraduate members than any other college fraternity in North America. For the last seven years Kappa Sigma has pledged more man that any other college fraternity, managing to beat our own record each time, making Kappa Sigma the most preferred fraternity in Noth America! Over the last 140 years, the Kappa Sigma fraternity has been a major part of many college campuses and has produced notable alumni, including former senator Bob Dole (Gamma-Omicron), Senator Richard Burr (Delta-Omega), Musician Jimmy Buffett (Epilon-Nu), Philanthropist Ted Turner (Beta-Alpha), and Journalist Edward R. Murrow (Gamma-Mu). The fraternity has always been known for stressing success across a variety of areas, including academics, philanthropy, and community service.
Along with fraternal involvement and development, Kappa Sigma has been one of the most generous fraternities as well, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to charitable organizations such as The Fisher House Foundation. Kappa Sigma gets brothers involved at the chapter and international lever through programs like Champion's Quest (fraternity recruitment program), Brothers in Action (personal and chapter development system), and A Greater Cause (fraternity community service program). Kappa Sigma also gives out more than $260,000 a year in scholarships to its undergraduate members through it's successful Kappa Sigma Endowment Fund, the largest such endowmnet fund of any college fraternity. However, Kappa Sigma is in no way limited to undergraduates. With more than 100 alumni chapters across North America, Kappa Sigma remains one of the most active fraternities on and off campus.